This paper discusses the need for targeted public investment in children’s mental and behavioral health and opportunities presented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) for promoting children’s cognitive, affective, and behavioral health. The following points are made: emphases within the ACA for prevention and coordination of care enable more family focus, or the two-generation framework, however, important gaps remain that threaten the reach of evidence-based, family-focused health care and ultimately, healthy development; there are untapped opportunities to deliver behavioral health services, particularly for vulnerable populations, in school-based health centers and ACA should be consider these centers a key element of community-based health care: there is a need to educate adult health communities about the life course perspective and promote healthy child development for lifelong health; there are exciting opportunities for linkages across health and education, primary care and schools, and health care and community programs; screening for developmental and behavioral health conditions in childhood is being improved, however, there are pressing needs for translation and validation for specific populations of children; and there are still important gaps in providers and in the availability of evidence-based practices and programs. 12 references.
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