Local Tax Initiatives as a Funding Source for Children's Mental Health

Date of Graduation

Fall 2008


Master of Public Administration


Political Science

Committee Chair

James B. Kaatz


.It is in the public interest to keep children healthy. Children's mental health requires care just as their physical health requires care. The problem is only 20 percent of children, including adolescents, who need mental health services receive them. A review of the rapidly growing cost of children's mental health, and the structure of mental health service financing, demonstrates a lack of funding to meet the future need for children's mental health services. The problem is addressed by using the initiative process to pass a local children's mental health tax employing five variables. The five variables are leadership, collaboration, needs assessment, public education, and fiscal and administrative management. The initiative process and the five variables are examined in a case study of Greene County, Missouri. The case study includes an assessment of a successful children's mental health tax initiative upon which inductive inferences are based. The results of the study support using enabling legislation to pass a local children's mental health tax. The findings indicate the initiative process will be most successful with authentic, transformational leadership and a community based inter-organizational collaboration. Further, a needs assessment informs the public and public education on this issue should recognize the importance of word of mouth along with a media campaign. A Board of Directors is necessary to administer the revenue from a local children's mental health tax. The future of children's mental health is in the hands of the tax payer and predicting this future is a worthwhile study.


health, public policy, taxation, initiative and referendum

Subject Categories

Public Administration


© Marie E. Swope