Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Getting on with the Act: More Legislation on Children's Mental Health

It has been busy lately, with meetings, lobbying and small children in the exam rooms. Much going on.  This from Health Care for All:

Save The Date: Tuesday, May 6
CMHC Bill Naming Event
Please reserve 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 6 for an important Children's Mental Health Campaign event in State House in room 222.  The Children's Mental Health Campaign is holding a press conference to announce that SB 2518, An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health, will be known as "Yolanda's Law." 
Last May, Yolanda Torres and her mother Mary Ann Tufts traveled from Plymouth to testify before the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse in support of the Children's Mental Health Bill.  Yolanda, an articulate and creative 15 year old, shared her experiences with the children's mental health system and her personal battle with mental illness.
Yolanda wanted to change the system of mental health care so that others would not have to go through what she had been through.  She considered her advocacy that day in the State House to be one of the most important experiences in her life. 
Tragically, Yolanda died on January 28, 2008.
At the request of Yolanda's family and in consultation with members of the Legislature who have been leaders on this issue, An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health, will now be known as Yolanda's Law. 
Please join us on May 6 to support Yolanda and her family, to support the passage of the legislation, and to support the Children's Mental Health Campaign. 
All are welcome to attend.  Mary Ann Tufts, her husband and close friends are planning to attend and speak about Yolanda. Please forward this message on to your networks and ask them to join us on May 6. 

Restore Funding for MCPAP
On Wednesday this week, the House Ways and Means Committee released its FY 2009 budget.  In this budget, funding for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatric Access Project (MCPAP) was eliminated.    MCPAP is a valuable program that provides mental health consultative services to pediatricians.  An important provision in SB 2518, An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health, would expand MCPAP to schools.
Representative Ruth Balser has filed an amendment that would restore the $2.5 million this program needs to line item 5042-5000.  The text of the amendment is available here. 
Please encourage your networks to call their legislators and ask them to support Representative Balser's amendment. 

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