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The state standard is for an urgent psychiatric appointment for a child to be within four days, yet this standard is not being met

The state's poorest children are having to wait for weeks, sometimes months, to receive urgent mental health care. CapRadio Health Care Reporter Kate Wolffe has the latest from a new audit.

When someone calls to make an urgent psychiatric appointment for a child, the state standard is for that appointment to be within four days.

A new audit found that's not happening for 40 percent of kids on Medi-Cal some have to wait months to get an appointment.

"I think this is why you see an uptick in emergency room visits due to mental health concerns. Due to self harm."

Lishuan Francis is with Children Now, a nonprofit that advocates for children's rights.

"I read the audit and thought yes and water is wet. So not really big news here from my perspective. This has been an ongoing issue."

Francis agrees with the auditors that the state needs to better collect data and enforce the standard wait times with health plans.

The Department of Health Care Services says it intends to hold health plans accountable to shorter wait times and could fine plans that don't comply.