COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The lack of resources and beds for children in the state is forcing Children's Hospital Colorado to send kids in dire need of mental healthcare out-of-state for treatment. In Colorado, health officials are responding to around four child suicide attempts a week.
"Currently we're actually shipping kids, our own kids in need, out-of-state to get care. So, at a time when they would benefit most from being in a place where they have family, support structures and familiarity is the exact moment when we are making them leave all of those things," Heidi Baskfield with Children's Hospital told 13 Investigates.
Colorado kids are being sent to any state that has the capacity to care for them, including Florida and South Carolina.
Lawmakers in Denver have been debating the Behavioral Health Recovery Act bill that would currently provide $12.5 million in funding for youth mental health care. Health officials say they need millions more to really address the growing problem.
"We think in order to address this crisis we need an additional $10 million that specifically addresses increasing bed capacity. There need to be more beds that serve these kids in the state of Colorado," Baskfield said.
The major hospital system said $7 million of that funding could open as many as 40 residential treatment and therapeutic foster care programs within the next 3 to 6 months.
"For the kids we serve, for our own children, we have to better," Baskfield said.
For more on SB21-137, click here. The bill is currently under consideration.