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Senate Appropriations markup – We must stay focused to save the CMHI

June 15, 2012

UPDATE – JUNE 18, 2012 –

Senate Appropriations recommends CMHI be maintained at 2012 level

The Senate Appropriations Committee report is now available and the news is good for the Child Mental Health Initiative. The Committee is rejecting the Administration proposal to slash funding for children’s mental health services by 28 million and is instead, recommending that the 2012 level of 117 + million be maintained for 2013. Excellent work, Network faithful! You and countless others spoke out and your voices were heard. But this is only the beginning of the long march to ensuring that SAMHSA maintains a strong focus on supporting a network of community-based services for children and adolescents with serious emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders and their families. Read the pertinent text from the report here:

Children’s Mental Health Services (from the report)

  • The Committee recommends $117,315,000 for the children’s mental health services program. This amount is the same as the comparable fiscal year 2012 level. The administration request is $88,557,000. This program provides grants and technical assistance to support a network of community-based services for children and adolescents with serious emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders. Grantees must provide matching funds and services must be coordinated with the educational, juvenile justice, child welfare, and primary healthcare systems.
  • The Committee rejects the administration’s proposed cut to this important program. The Committee notes that in the United States every year 5,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 commit suicide, and 600,000 make an attempt that is serious enough to require an emergency room visit. Furthermore, the Committee understands that 75 percent of psychiatric illness occurs before the age of 24. This public health crisis is exacerbated by the fact that there are only 7,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists and 3,500 child psychologists nationwide to treat this vulnerable population.
  • The Committee encourages SAMHSA to seek innovative means to increase the number of children’s mental health professionals, including efforts to develop bachelor’s degree and master’s level training curricula focusing on evidence-based interventions.

Download the report here.

Next steps
This is an important victory for the Child Mental Health Initiative but only a beginning step in a very long process. This is not the time for complacency. The House discussion will begin any day now. We need everyone to get involved and share your voice with your elected representatives. Read the details for getting involved below:

Save the Child Mental Health Initiative – Time to saddle up
The Senate Committee on Appropriations yesterday approved their version of the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor, Labor Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Bill by a vote of 16-14. The bill will now be reported to the full Senate for its consideration. The encouraging news is that it appears overall funding for SAMHSA is remaining fairly level. The full committee report is expected to be released early next week. Once the full Senate markup is made public, the Children’s Mental Health Network will release an announcement with additional details on the proposed funding level for the Child Mental Health Initiative and our recommendations for how Network faithful should proceed. A summary of the bill approved by the full committee can be downloaded here.

Network faithful rocked the Call to Action
Your response to our Call to Action last week in support of keeping funding for the Child Mental Health Initiative at 2012 level for the 2013 budget was amazing. Keep it up! And remember that these committee recommendations are only one of many steps ahead. Think of the Senate markup as a negotiating tool that will be used with the House. In other words, your education efforts have been great with members of Congress but your work has only just begun. Critical for us is to focus attention on ensuring that funding for the Child Mental Health Initiative be set at the 2012 level and not what was proposed in the President’s budget (a close to 29 million dollar reduction).

Your voice counts
Remember folks, your voice counts. We made a significant impact with the block grant language last year (our call to action) (results) and we made a whole lot of noise last week  in our collective effort to save the Child Mental Health Initiative. Keep it up and stay strong!

Next steps:

  • Time to focus on the House – Our hope is that when we see the full markup we will see the Child Mental Health Initiative at the 2012 funding level (gotta visualize it to make it real). Anticipating that this will be the case, we need to turn our attention to the House, who is rumored to begin their markups around June 20th. . See our Action Alert and get busy!
  • Fiscal 2013 just around the corner – Remember that the fiscal year 2013 begins on October 1, 2012, so we are in for a busy summer. The Network will continue working to provide you information to help educate Congress on the benefits of the Child Mental Health Initiative. For us to be effective, your help will be needed. Over the next few months we will be calling on those of you who would be willing to help to call on your elected officials while they are home this summer to educate them on the extreme importance of the Child Mental Health Initiative. I see a whole lot of town hall meetings, barbecues and pancake breakfasts in your future!
  • Make a business case for the Child Mental Health Initiative – Okay Network faithful, dig out the old powerpoints, position papers, and policy briefs you have used over the years to help state and local leaders understand the value of a systems of care approach. We are collecting anything and everything that will help make a strong business case. In order to do that we need your hard evidence of how you successfully saved money in the long run, improved outcomes and generally made a difference for families and the communities in which they live. Examples of the successful use of wraparound, co-location of services and the innovative approach to involving family and youth as key decision-makers in the design and delivery of services and supports are just a few of many examples that you all have used in your work. Time to share, folks. We, in turn, will categorize the information and publicize it on the website for all to be able to use to make the case for what we intuitively know – A system of care approach works. If you have anything that you have used to make a business case for a system of care approach, send it in here.
  • Stay strong, stay collective – We are a collective voice folks. Together we must remain diligent in making the case for promoting the values and principles of a system of care approach.
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