Barriers to engagement and retention of children's mental health services

When trying to understand why children and families in need of mental health services do not access their benefits it is important to understand the barriers faced when attempting to utilize services. The purpose of this project was to identify the barriers of engagement and retention that children and their parents face when accessing mental health services in the county of Sacramento. This qualitative survey research study asked 41 professionals of a local, Medi-Cal funded agency to identify what barriers they believed families encountered when attempting to access mental health services. The study found among financial stress being the most significant barrier, cultural barriers, and transportation were also identified. In addition, this study found the areas in which agencies could improve engagement techniques and training among mental health clinicians and other related staff. Implications for social work practice and policy are also discussed in this study.