Today's Law As Amended

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AB-895 Pupil Mental Health Services Program Act.(2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Pupils from all backgrounds and circumstances in California deserve adequate behavioral and academic support to achieve their full potential.
(b) Pupils in California face relational and environmental stressors that diminish their ability to achieve their full potential. Among these complex challenges may be poverty, frequent exposure to violence, placement in the foster care system, and other negative experiences that result in chronic stress and trauma. Nearly 700,000 pupils in California receive special education services, and nearly one in four youth are living in poverty. Nearly 60,000 youth are currently placed in foster care, and as many as 20 percent of youth are in need of mental health interventions.
(c) In 2014, an estimated 22.5 million Americans 12 years of age or older reported needing treatment for a substance use disorder.
(d) Mental health disorders and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma.
(e) Fifty-seven percent of Californian children have experienced trauma.
(f) Early intervention and prevention of mental health and substance use disorders are critical to Californians’ behavioral and physical health.
(g) Pupils with these stressors are frequently failed by the current policies and systems in place, as measured by indicators for academic outcomes, social inclusion, emotional development, mental health support, and general pupil well-being.
(h) In California, more than 20 percent of special education pupils spend less than 40 percent of their day within their regular classroom, an indicator of inclusion, compared to 14 percent of special education pupils nationally and a federal target of less than 9 percent.
(i) Only 59 percent of special education pupils graduated from high school within four years in the 2010–11 fiscal year compared to 76 percent of all pupils.
(j) Statewide, a recent study found only 58 percent of foster youth in grade 12 graduated compared to 85 percent of all youth, with nearly 14 percent of foster youth in grade 12 dropping out of school.
(k) Far too often, youth with mental health challenges do not receive the services they need. For instance, one study found that nearly two-thirds of adolescents who experienced a major depressive disorder in the last year did not receive treatment.
(l) Even by grade 3, low-income pupils perform substantially below their higher income peers in areas of social and emotional skills, social and emotional development, engagement in school, and physical well-being.
(m) Delivery of comprehensive community-based support and resources requires a high level of collaboration among schools, school districts, and county mental health agencies.

SEC. 2.

 Article 3 (commencing with Section 49440) is added to Chapter 9 of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:

Article  3. Pupil Mental Health Services Program Act
 This article shall be known, and may be cited, as the Pupil Mental Health Services Program Act.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Eligible pupil” means a pupil who attends kindergarten, including transitional kindergarten, or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, at a local educational agency.
(b) “Local educational agency” means a school district, county office of education, state special school, or charter school.
(c) “Supportive services” means services that enhance the mental health and social-emotional development of eligible pupils.
 Beginning with grants for the 2020–21 school year and subject to the availability of funding each year, the department may, in consultation with the Superintendent, award matching grants to local educational agencies for programs that provide supportive services to eligible pupils at schoolsites, as follows:
(a) The department shall award matching grants pursuant to this article to local educational agencies throughout the state.
(b) Matching grants awarded under this article shall be awarded for a period of not more than three years and a single schoolsite shall not be awarded more than one grant.
(c) The department shall pay to each local educational agency awarded a grant the state share of the cost of the activities described in the application if the department approves the application pursuant to this article.
(d) Eligible supportive services may include the following:
(1) The ability of the local educational agency to provide direct services, including, but not limited to, increasing staff-to-pupil ratios and providing individual and group mental health intervention and prevention services.
(2) Providing individual and small group counseling supports to individual pupils, and to pupil groups, to address social-emotional and mental health concerns.
(3) The ability of the local educational agency to partner with the county to establish direct linkages for pupils to community-based mental health services.
(4) The ability to participate in evidence-based and community-defined best practices for mental health services improvements.
(5) Referral to outside resources when eligible pupils require additional services.
(6) Any other service or activity that will improve the mental health of eligible pupils, particularly evidence-based interventions and promising practices intended to mitigate the consequences of childhood adversity and cultivate resilience and protective factors.
(e) Before participation by an eligible pupil in either individual or group supportive services, the local educational agency shall obtain the consent of the pupil’s parent or guardian.
 (a) A local educational agency seeking a matching grant pursuant to this article shall submit an application to the department at the time, in a manner as, and accompanied by any information the department may reasonably require.
(b) A matching grant application submitted shall include all of the following:
(1) Documentation of need for the supportive services.
(2) A description of the supportive services expected to be provided at the schoolsite.
(3) A statement of program goals.
(4) A detailed budget and budget narrative.
(5) A description of the population anticipated to be served, including number of pupils to be served and socioeconomic indicators of schoolsites to receive funds.
(6) A plan describing how the proposed school-based mental health intervention and prevention services program will be continued after the matching grant has expired.
(7) Assurance that matching grants will supplement and not supplant existing local resources provided for mental health intervention and prevention services.
(8) A description of an evaluation plan that includes quantitative and qualitative measures of school and pupil characteristics, and a comparison of pupils’ adjustment to school after receiving the supportive services.
 (a) Matching grants awarded pursuant to this article may be used for salaries of staff to implement the supportive services program, equipment and supplies, training, and insurance.
(b) Salaries of administrative staff and other administrative costs associated with providing services shall be limited to 5 percent of the state share of assistance provided under this article.
(c) No more than 10 percent of the moneys allocated to the department pursuant to this article may be used for program administration and evaluation.
 Implementation of this article is contingent upon an appropriation in the annual Budget Act for purposes of this article from the administrative portion of the Mental Health Services Fund created by Section 5890 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.