Suggested lead: There’s a major push on in Olympia to improve the state’s system of mental health services for children.  Dan Frizzell has more.

Wrap (:72 total): One in five Washington kids exhibits symptoms of some sort of mental illness. If that number troubles you, consider this:  Out of that group, only one in five will receive help.  That leaves a lot of children and their families on their own, fighting a silent, and losing, battle.  Last year the Legislature put together a bipartisan workgroup to focus on the problem and come back this year with a plan of action.  Representative Tana Senn was co-chair of that group and has written a bill incorporating those recommendations.

SENN: “We want to make sure that we get people with mental health issues early, and possibly prevent them from getting more acute. If we can help kids where they are and meet them with services where they are, whether that’s in the school system or the healthcare system, we’re going to be moving a long way on improving mental health outcomes for kids, and then therefore for adults.” [:21]

Senn, a Democrat from Mercer Island, said her bill combines prevention with treatment, and could bring down Washington’s child homeless numbers, reduce dropouts, and help kids stay out of the juvenile corrections system – often seen as a training ground for the adult system.  She’ll testify at a hearing in the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.