We have some great news! The General Assembly included increased funding for children’s mental health services, as well as prevention and awareness programs. This past Saturday was a busy day in Richmond with both the House and Senate tying up all of the loose ends of the 2013 Session and wanting to adjourn on time. There were last minute maneuvers on the budget, but in the end there were important victories for Virginia’s children. Now that it is approved the General Assembly, the budget will go to the Governor for final approval. We do not expect any changes in these items.
CRISIS FUNDING/CHILD PSYCHIATRY
The conference budget included an additional $1.9 million in FY14 for children’s crisis response services and child psychiatry (Item 315 #4c). This total includes the $1 million added by the Governor and the $900,000 approved by the General Assembly. This amount is in addition to the $1.75 million included in the FY14 budget during the 2012 session that will continue to be awarded to the three regions currently funded, bringing the statewide total to $3.65 million.
The conference budget also includes funding for two training and awareness programs recommended by the Governor’s School Safety Task Force:
– Mental Health First Aid received $600,000 in FY14 (Item 315 #2c). Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a 12-hour interactive course that teaches the risk factors and warning signs and symptoms of mental health disorders to clergy, teachers, health professionals, and others.
-Suicide prevention efforts received $500,000 in FY14 (Item 314 #3c). Funds will go to DBHDS to collaborate with several other state agencies for a comprehensive suicide prevention plan.
Unfortunately, none of the language amendments we supported were included in the final budget. We will continue to advocate for these items, such as improving the quality of Medicaid mental health services, through other channels.
Thank you to all of you who contacted your legislators during this session to talk to them about the importance of addressing children’s mental health. Slowly but surely, we are raising awareness of this issue and the need to make services available to the children and families who need them.Read More Blog Posts