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Maintaining Health Services for Children amid Welfare Confusion

The Importance of Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment

By Jane Perkins

Under the Medicaid Act, poor children and youth are entitled to receive comprehensive medical and behavioral screening and treatment services through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program. Although the program was not directly affected by welfare reform, many children who lost cash assistance benefits because of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act are not applying for Medicaid and as a consequence are losing access to the program. Advocates can assist their clients by enhancing their own understanding of how the program works and realizing that it is itself a fragile benefit.

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