Children’s Rights Receives Sozosei Foundation Grant to Address Criminalization of Child Mental Health

Contact: Camilla Jenkins │917-971-1784 │

NEW YORK –The Sozosei Foundation has awarded Children’s Rights a grant to further its work to end the institutionalization and criminalization of children, youth and young adults with mental health conditions, and instead make sure they get the care they need at home, within their own communities.

“At the Sozosei Foundation, our Japanese heritage is manifest in our values and day-to-day operations. Our partnership with Children’s Rights is a living embodiment of “Jissho,” or proof through execution,” said Melissa M. Beck, Executive Director of the Sozosei Foundation.

The Sozosei Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Otsuka Pharmaceutical. The Foundation’s primary focus is to eliminate the use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness — a result of stigma, discrimination, racism, as well as the persistent and systemic failure of the U.S. healthcare system to provide affordable, accessible, community-based mental health care.

Despite this complex web of factors, the Foundation believes an opportunity exists to make measurable progress to decriminalize mental illness by increasing access to mental health care in communities and eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for diagnosis and treatment.

“Children’s Rights is profoundly grateful to the Sozosei Foundation for their extraordinary support. They are truly visionaries in the fight to combat the criminalization of mental health — and their support could not be coming at a more critical moment as we face what the U.S. surgeon general has called a ‘devastating’ child mental health crisis,” said Sandy Santana, Executive Director of Children’s Rights.

The criminalization of mental health has profound consequences on young people—especially poor children of color and those in foster care. They are often pushed into institutions through the school-to-prison and foster care-to-prison pipelines. In the courts and through its advocacy efforts, Children’s Rights is working to find solutions outside the criminal legal and child welfare systems that take a health-centered approach to treatment. This includes reimagining crisis response, advocating for practices that divert young people from interactions with law enforcement and building compassionate and effective community support systems.



Every day, children are harmed in America’s child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and healthcare systems. Through relentless strategic advocacy and legal action, we hold governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy. Children’s Rights, a national non-profit organization, has made a lasting impact for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children. For more information, please visit