Yesterday, the Senate passed the budget for the next biennium that the House had already approved; it now goes to the Governor for his amendments. The great news is that the budget includes $3.3 million in new funding for children’s mental health! These funds will go to the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to be distributed to the CSB regions for child psychiatry and community-based crisis response services. $1.5 million in allocated for FY13 and $1.75 million for FY14. Here is the exact budget language as it currently stands:
“U. Out of this appropriation, $1,500,000 the first year and $1,750,000 the second year from the general fund shall be used to provide child psychiatry and children’s crisis response services for children with mental health and behavioral disorders. These funds, divided among the health planning regions based on the current availability of the services, shall be used to hire or contract with child psychiatrists who can provide direct clinical services, including crisis response services, as well as training and consultation with other children’s health care providers in the health planning region such as general practitioners, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and community service boards staff, to increase their expertise in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of children with mental health disorders. Funds may also be used to create new or enhance existing community-based crisis response services in a health planning region, including mobile crisis teams and crisis stabilization services, with the goal of diverting children from inpatient psychiatric hospitalization to less restrictive services in or near their communities. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services shall report on the use and impact of this funding to the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees beginning on October 1, 2013 and each year thereafter.”
Thanks to everyone who has put so much effort into advocating for these funds! Our statewide partner organizations — including NAMI Virginia, the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards, the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, the Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics — have really helped us show broad support for the Campaign. And the testimony and advocacy of families and providers has been amazing. Thank you, and we’ll keep you posted on the final outcome!