Voices’ Blog

Children’s Mental Health Budget Amendments

Posted:  -  By: Ashley Airington

Session is well underway and I want to update you on some of the important budget amendments that affect children’s mental health services. As you will see, there are a number of budget amendments that support the expansion of community-based mental health services for kids, and we are thrilled to see that.


*Expanding Community-Based  Children’s Crisis Services and Child Psychiatry

Senate Patrons: Hanger (Item 315 #7s)  Howell (Item 315 #3s)
House Patrons: Yost (Item 315 #6h) Co-patron: O’Bannon
This amendment increases funding by $3.3 million GF each year to create  new or expand existing child psychiatry and crisis response services for children in each of the five health planning regions across the state. Funds are bring used to provide faster access to psychiatrists in person and through telepsychiatry, as well as to provide mobile crisis teams and residential and day crisis stabilization services. Voices requested this amendment.


*Behavioral Health Practitioner Student Loan Repayment Program 

Senate Patron: Deeds(Item 313 #7s)
House Patron: Yost ( Item 313 #6h)

Establishes the Virginia Behavioral Health Practitioner Student Loan Repayment Fund and Program to provide student loan repayment grants to eligible behavioral health practitioners (including those who work with children) who agree to a 24-month employment obligation with a community services board, behavioral health authority, or Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services facility or with an entity that has entered into a contract with a community services board, behavioral health authority or Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services facility to provide behavioral health services. Grants may be up to $10,000 per recipient per year, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services may award up to 250 grants per year.

The Behavioral Health Practitioner Student Loan Repayment Program is also a bill patroned by Del. Yost (HB 764) and Sen. Deeds (SB 535).


*Child Psychiatry Loan Repayment Program  

Senate Patron: Hanger (Item 313 #6s)
House Patron: Yost ( Item 313 #5h) Co-patron: O’Bannon

The amendment provides $500,000 each year to fund a loan repayment gram to recruit and retain graduate medical students in child psychiatry to serve in the community mental health system. Voices requested this amendment.


*Report in Children’s Mental Health Workforce  

Senate Patron: Hanger (Item 313 #5s)
House Patron: Yost ( Item 313 #4h)

The amendment directs the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to conduct a study on the ways to expand mental health and primary care professionals that are trained to treat children’s mental health issues. Voices requested this amendment.


*Report on Outpatient Mental Health Services for Youth   

Senate Patron: Hanger (Item 315 #6s)
House Patron: Yost ( Item 315 #9h)

The amendment adds an annual reporting requirement to existing funding for mental health outpatient services for youth and young adults. Voices requested this amendment.


Pediatric Mental Health Collaborative    

Senate Patrons: Barker (Item 310 #4s) 
House Patron: Garrett (Item 306 #33h)

This amendment provides $50,000 for the Virginia Center for Healthcare Innovation to establish a pediatric mental health collaborative. The goal of the Collaborative is to improve the integration of mental health in primary pediatric care for children in the Commonwealth.


Transitional Services for High-Risk Individuals  

Senate Patron: Lucas (Item 315 #1s) 
House Patron: Garrett (Item 315 #4h)

This amendment provides $7 million over the biennium to increase the community-based services for youth and adults of high-risk of re-hospitalization or re-offense due to their behavioral health challenges.


Pilot Program for Mental Health Services in Schools   

Senate Patrons: Favola (Item 315 #1s) Co-patron: Reeves

This amendment provides $160,000 each year from the general fund to create a pilot program to support community health centers when they enter into an MOU with local school divisions to provide mental health services at the schools on a regular basis.These MOUs shall also include the provision for emergency mental health care.


*Top priorities for Voices for Virginia’s Children


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