Affiliation: Saint-Etienne University Hospital, Hopital Nord, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 42055 Saint-Etienne Cedex 2, France.
Background and objectives: Economic conditions, policies, family environment and cultural models of parenting all impact a child’s well- being and development. Differing theoretical orientations in mental health between countries govern the respective under standing, assessment, and treatment of children and their families. Method: This paper provides an overview and critical examination of child mental health care systems in North America and Europe using the United States (US) and France as comparisons. Results: France has a national policy of universal access to health care; in the US access is determined largely by insurance companies and varies from state to state. Conclusions: By examining the similarities and differences between health care systems, mental health providers, training, diagnosis and treatment approaches in this cross-national comparison, much can be learned about developing effective practices to improve health care delivery worldwide.