Thursday, April 16, 2009

Children's Mental Health Funding in Danger:Call Your Legislator Today!

From the Children's Mental Health Campaign:

The House Ways and Means budget for Fiscal Year 2010 contains significant funding reductions that will have a devastating impact on children with mental health needs.  In particular, the Children's Mental Health Campaign is concerned with cuts to two specific line items:
  • Behavioral Health Consultation for the Department of Early Education (3000-6075): line item eliminated.  
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (line item 5042-5000): funding reduced by $3.4 million.  
You can help!
Please call your State Representative and ask him or her to:
  • Please cosponsor Representative Pedone's amendment to restore the line item and to restore funding to Behavioral Health Consultations for DEEC (line item 3000-6075).  These consultations have been instrumental in reducing the number of suspensions and expulsions from preschools, and in dramatically reducing special education costs for elementary schools.
  • Please cosponsor Representative Malia's amendment to restore $3.4 million for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.  These services are vital to facilitate the early identification and treatment of mental health needs of young people.  Early identification is vital for successful treatment.
You can find your State Representative by clicking here
The deadline for Representatives to be listed as cosponsors is 5:00 pm on Friday, April 17. 
Last session, the Legislature took a major step forward in addressing the ongoing crisis of the children's mental health system in Massachusetts.   Unfortunately, the budget proposal before the House would squander many of the gains made by Chapter 321 of the Acts of 2008: An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health.  While we recognize the difficult economic and financial situation the state is faced with, it is important that we preserve the gains we have made for children with mental health needs.
If you have any questions or feedback from your calls, contact
Matt Noyes  at 617-275-2939. 
And, in a related posting, some other Children's programs are in jeopardy:

Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee released its proposed budget for FY 2010.  Unfortunately, the budget contained significant cuts to several children's programs, including Healthy Start and Early Intervention.  You can help by calling your State Representative and asking him or her to:

  • Please cosponsor and support Representative Katherine Clark's amendment to restore $4 million to Healthy Start (line item 4000-0895).  Healthy Start helps low income women access health care during pregnancy and has been instrumental in reducing infant mortality and low birth weight.  Funding reductions to Healthy Start have a profound effect: every dollar cut from Healthy Start adds $8 to the future costs of caring for low birth weight and premature infants, and forfeits the immediate return of 65 cents in federal revenue.
  • Please cosponsor and support Representative Lou Kafka's amendment to restore funding to Early Intervention (line item 4513-1020).  Each year, Early Intervention serves 30,000 children from birth to age three with developmental delays.  9c funding cuts last year have already forced changes in eligibility standards for the program..  The proposed 21% cut in the Ways and Means budget would necessitate further eligibility barriers and the elimination of important programs for extremely vulnerable children.  
Please call your State Representative today - the deadline for them to be listed as a cosponsor is 5:00 pm on Friday, April 17.  You can find your Representative's contact information by clicking here.  If you have any questions or feedback from your calls, please contact Matt Noyes 617-275-2939. 

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