The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) health problems of children and adolescents in the United States (U.S.). A collective and coordinated national economic and social reconstruction effort aimed at shoring up services to promote children's MEB, like the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe post-World War II, has been proposed to buttress against the expected retrenchment . The plan prioritizes children's well-being as a social objective . We propose strategically reconstructing the public safety-net systems serving youth, including early education, maternal and child health, child welfare, corrections, and mental health . That plan called for a concentrated focus on coalition-building and contracting by state mental health systems to establish a foundation for an improved health system . This paper offers a complementary set of suggestions for the four non-mental health systems mentioned above by recommending actionable steps based on scientific evidence to support improved services for children at risk for MEB problems . For each system we describe examples of evidence-informed services, policies or programs that (1) prevent disabilities and promote health, (2) protect and preserve families and neighborhoods, and (3) provide quality care . Prioritizing the promotion of children's MEB health by all state systems can shape U.S. children's health and well-being for generations to come.
Index: Child welfare system, Corrections, Early childhood education Mental Health, Incarceration, Maternal and child health, Policymaking, Public health, United States