Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation (BHRIC)

Recommendations to better support behavioral health needs of homeless youth and youth in foster care


In July, 2023 Georgia Appleseed Executive Director Michael Waller testified at the BHRIC Children and Adolescent Behavioral Health Subcommittee.  He shared legislative, policy, and best practices recommendations to better support the mental and behavioral health needs of homeless youth and youth in foster care. 

The recommendations fall into three categories. 

  1. Prevention – Georgia should emphasize prevention, aiming to ensure that children and their families have the resources they need to support emotional and physical well-being. 
  2. Engagement – Georgia should integrate community engagement and multi-disciplinary collaboration at every stage of mental and behavioral healthcare. 
  3. Funding – We must ensure adequate funding for prevention, high-quality services, and the best-in-class workforce our children need.
Georgia Appleseed based the recommendations on our experience providing legal supports to hundreds of children in foster care and working with communities to reduce homelessness, as well as feedback from children, youth, and their caregivers. We also researched efforts in other jurisdictions and gathered input from Georgia providers, state agencies, courts, educators, and experts who support these children and youth.