Senate Approves Beall’s Bill Creating Partnerships Between Schools and Counties by Boosting Mental Health Funding for Students

May 30, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Action to bolster mental health services in schools and help students was approved by the Senate today. By a 32-0 vote, Senator Jim Beall’s legislation to fund children’s crisis mental health services at equal levels to adult services, advanced to the Assembly for consideration.

Under Senate Bill 1019, a competitive grant program would be established to fund partnerships between county MediCal providers and local education agencies, including crisis outreach services for students with behavioral health needs. The proposal will generate tens of millions of dollars in federal health funds by partnering schools with eligible MediCal providers who can be reimbursed for services.

“Schools are the best place to identify children in need of mental health treatment and link them to services. Early intervention and prevention will improve student outcomes both inside and outside the classroom.’’ Beall said, “SB 1019 provides the needed resources so kids can excel in their academic and personal lives.’’

SB 1019 brings parity in the division of Proposition 63 grant funding under previous legislation passed in 2013, creating a 50-50 split in spending between juveniles and adults. The bill solves an issue raised by state Mental Health Services Accountability Commission findings that found just 15 percent of the funding available from the first round of triage grants issued under the wellness act went to programs serving school-age children. The findings revealed that out of a total of $32 million in funding, fewer than $5 million went to programs serving children.

The Investment in Mental Health Wellness Act, ratified in 2013, expanded California’s ability to provide crisis intervention assistance, including mobile crisis support teams and triage personnel.