Voices’ Blog

Budget Hearings are here: speak up for children’s mental health

Posted:  -  By: Voices for VA's Kids

Earlier this week Gov. McDonnell released his budget for the next two years; once session starts January 8, it will be the General Assembly’s job to amend and pass the budget. But first, the citizens get to have a say.

Please mark your calendar for Friday, January 3, 2014. This is the time to let the state legislators who are responsible for developing the budget know what your priorities are! They need to hear from us about the continuing need for children’s mental health services.

The budget hearings are held in 5 locations around the state on January 3rd with a panel of legislators attending each one. It is a great opportunity to speak out about the effectiveness of and ongoing need for crisis response and child psychiatry services, as well as, the need for transition age (16-25) mental health services.

More specifically, we are looking for volunteers to talk about the following: 

-Has your Community Service Board (CSB) and/or community benefited from the new children’s mental health funding for crisis response services and child psychiatry? If so, can you testify about that and/or find a family who can?

-Does your community still need better access to child psychiatry or crisis response services?  We want these services to continue to expand in Virginia, so if you can speak to that need, that would be great!

-Do you have a story to tell about the need for services specifically designed for older teens and young adults to help them make the transition to adulthood and adult mental health treatment?   We want the transition from the child mental health system to adult mental health system to improve, so speaking to this need would be helpful.

So where are the hearings?

Harrisonburg – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00 noon: James Madison University, Festival Student and Conference Center

Hampton – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00 noon: Thomas Nelson Community College, Auditorium

Blacksburg – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00 noon: Virginia Tech, Graduate Life Center

Richmond Area – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00 noon: General Assembly Building, House Room D

Fairfax County – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.: Fairfax County Government Center, Board of Supervisors Auditorium

Voices and the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health are currently recruiting volunteers who are willing to testify at one of these hearings. Again, we will provide talking points and tips for you ahead of time. We also need volunteers to stand in line for the speakers to register them—so if you want to help but don’t want to speak, this is a job for you!

Also, if you can’t attend a hearing but would like to share your story, we can submit written testimonies as well. Just let us know if you are interested.

Please contact me for more information and to volunteer: Ashley@vakids.org  Thank you!

Ashley Everette, Campaign Coordinator

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