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Friday update 4-19-13

Greetings faithful readers - Happy Friday to you. It has been a difficult week for our country, especially for those in the city of Boston which is on lockdown as this issue goes out. So how about starting this issue off with a little Curtis Mayfield singing his great song Keep on Keeping On, cuz that's what we've got to do. As we work through the acts of senseless violence in Boston this week that have created trauma from the bombings and the aftermath, we need to somehow keep our focus on the dizzying developments related to children's mental health in Washington DC and across America. So enjoy the video and keep on keepin' on.

Most important reads for this week

Senate OKs mental health package on gun bill - but do we really gain anything?
We keep reading about advocates jumping for joy at the efforts of Senators Harkin and Alexander to attach a mental health package to the (currently paused) gun bill. Why are we at the Network not jumping for joy as well? While we got nothin' but love for those two, voting yes on something that is not a game changer in any way imaginable, especially in light of the heightened conversation around mental health the past few months is more of an appeasement to public outcry and not something to even remotely celebrate. Although the issue has risen to national legislative action, we need a commitment for following years to do far more than a budget neutral effort (we've got the figures from the Congressional Budget Office). If we want to improve mental health resources for our children we have to pay for it, plain and simple. Let's up the ante for the next five years and agree to fund the full need for children's mental health, not apply a Band-Aid. Dang, we must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed or somethin'.

North Carolina moving way too fast with Medicaid consolidation efforts
Holy smokes - if you live in North Carolina, it is best not to take a nap or close your eyes for a minute - cuz things are changin' much too quickly for our liking. Privatizing Medicaid? Consolidating mental health in public health and farming out services - Jeeze, slow down just a bit, will ya? Let's talk… We will be watching closely to see how they plan to overcome the debacle known as mental health reform a mere 12 years ago. Whatever steps are taken to improve access to care need to be open, transparent and include plenty of time for input from community members.

If workforce shortage is a challenge everyone agrees on why is this Commission sitting idle? 
Hey, remember way back in 2010 when the GAO announced appointments to a new National Health Care Commission? Only one problem... the Commission was never funded and has never met. Ouch. Pretty juicy reports here about the looming workforce shortage and its impact on, oh, I don't know, about 57 million Americans living without ready access to primary care? This is going to have an impact on children and youth with emotional challenges and their families, so this is one worthy of paying attention to and tracking. I don't know, maybe they ought to at least convene the Commission established to address this problem. Wadda ya think?

More tragic times, helping families cope 
Once again families are coping with how to explain tragic and scary news events to their children. This time the news is in regards to two explosions that occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. For those living in the affected areas, these are particularly stressful and anxious times. Sesame Workshop has produced an excellent tip sheet that we encourage all of you to read and share.

Dell Foundation awards $6 million in scholarships for at-risk students
The Dell Foundation has announced scholarships totaling more than $6 million to help more than three hundred at-risk students across the country graduate from college. According to the foundation, the Dell Scholars Program, now in its tenth year, has helped 80 percent, or 615 scholar-participants, graduate within six years with lower-than-average debt. With the implementation of new front-end support systems, including early warnings, summer orientation sessions, and the Student Risk Indicator, the 2010 class of Dell Scholars is projected to achieve a six-year college graduation rate of 93 percent. Lots of relevance for young Network faithful - Go get 'em!

Navigator and In-Person Assistance Resource Center now available 
Open enrollment for state marketplaces (also known as "exchanges") starts October 1. Are you interested in working as a navigator or an in-person assister or does your organization need help in building a robust enrollment assistance program? Families USA has developed a comprehensive web-based resource center to provide the information and guidance you need to build or participate in a successful outreach and enrollment program in your state. It's pretty darned sweet.

Hey, don't stop now. We got some great links below plus a host of newly posted resources. Keep reading!

Hot links

New resource postings to the CMHNetwork website this week

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A big THANK YOU for reading and participating in Friday Update each and every week. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to improve and expand our coverage of pertinent issues for children's mental health advocates, families, policy makers and just plain folk who care about making our communities stronger. So in the spirit of innovation and change what would you do to improve Friday Update for 2013? Send us your ideas. We are grateful for any and all feedback especially for ideas of how we can improve upon what we offer you. Not signed up yet to receive Friday Update every week? Sign up now and get the latest information you need to help you improve services for children and families. Forward a copy of this Update to a colleague and be a part of spreading the love about children's mental health far and wide. Just be sure to give us a wee bit of credit, okay?

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
http://cmhnetwork.org

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