Children's Mental Health Gains Threatened
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.
Last session, the Legislature took a major step forward in addressing the ongoing crisis of the children's mental health system in Massachusetts by enacting Chapter 321 of the Acts of 2008: An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health.
Unfortunately, the budget proposal before the House would squander many of the gains made by this law.
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.
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 (as well as ask your networks to call) and ask him or her to:
Please support Representative Pedone's amendment to restore the line item and to restore funding to Behavioral Health Consultations for DEEC (amendment number 688). These consultative services have been instrumental in reducing the number of suspensions and expulsions from preschools, and in dramatically reducing subsequent special education costs in elementary schools.
Please support Representative Malia's amendment to restore $3.4 million for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (amendment number 580). 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.
Please activate your networks now! The House is expected to take up health care amendments early next week.