SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) – The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on the mental health of adults and children alike. While there are many options available for adults to get help, Illinois lawmakers and advocates say children are not receiving the residential care they need. Some argue this is a separate health crisis that must be addressed.

This isn’t a new problem. Illinois has seen a decline in human services available for residents since the budget impasse that lasted from 2015 to 2017.

Residential mental health facilities were dismantled under former Gov. Bruce Rauner. While the Pritzker administration continues to invest in this sector, children still end up on waiting lists instead of receiving mental health care.

One of the largest behavioral health care providers in Illinois said all kids should be treated in the least restrictive setting that is safe and effective. Dr. David Gomel, president of Rosecrance Health Services, explained children with Medicaid cannot access the same care that kids with private health insurance receive.

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