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Mental Health Legislative Roundup

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Young people and caregivers who engaged in the CCCS process overwhelmingly identified mental health supports for families as a top priority for children’s success as identified in the Community Action Plans. California’s mental health system of care is undergoing changes to increase the quality, responsiveness and ease of access to mental health care for youth and their families. County Health’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division is deeply engaged in tracking state legislative efforts and their impacts on local service delivery. Below are updates from the last legislative session.

Under previous laws, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds, a huge source of funding for mental health programs and treatments in the state, could not be used for programs for adults or youth in the justice system. SB 389 allows the use of MHSA funds to support individuals in pre-sentencing, post-sentencing, diversion or probation programs.  AB 1642 spells out mechanisms to ensure access to quality mental health care including a requirement that mental health appointments for Medi-Cal beneficiaries are made in a timely manner. AB 175 updates the Foster Care Bill of Rights including the right of individuals in the foster system to use their preferred name and gender pronoun. And finally, with AB 1767, Elementary and Middle School districts must adopt and update a student suicide prevention plan that addresses the needs of high risk groups. The plan must be developed in consultation with County behavioral health, school and community stakeholders.

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