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AB-2579 Mental health services for children and transitional age youth: oversight.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/27/2020 09:00 PM
AB2579:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2579


Introduced by Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer

February 20, 2020


An act relating to housing. An act to add Section 5845.3 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to mental health.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2579, as amended, Jones-Sawyer. Home improvement and repair. Mental health services for children and transitional age youth: oversight.
Existing law, the School-Based Early Mental Health Intervention and Prevention Services for Children Act of 1991, authorizes the Director of Health Care Services, in consultation with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to provide matching grants to local educational agencies to pay the state share of the costs of providing school-based early mental health intervention and prevention services to eligible pupils at schoolsites of eligible pupils, subject to the availability of funding each year.
Existing law, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), an initiative measure enacted by the voters as Proposition 63 at the November 2, 2004, statewide general election, among other things, establishes the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to oversee the administration of various parts of the MHSA. The MHSA authorizes the commission to, among other things, establish technical advisory committees, assist in providing technical assistance to accomplish the purposes of the MHSA, and employ all other strategies necessary or convenient to enable it to perform its duties. Existing law authorizes the MHSA to be amended by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature if the amendments are consistent with, and further the purposes of, the MHSA, and also permits the Legislature to clarify procedures and terms of the MHSA by a majority vote.
This bill would require the commission to develop a statewide monitoring strategy for school mental health outcomes, a transparency and accountability strategy for local government mental health programs, and an outcome transparency and accountability strategy to support public understanding, awareness, and monitoring of the various mental health services provided to children and transitional age youth. The bill would provide the commission with access to data, information, policies, procedures, and practices held or maintained by state and local agencies in order to develop these strategies, consistent with applicable privacy and confidentiality laws with respect to this data, and would require the state and local agencies to cooperate and share data with the commission. By requiring local agencies to provide data access to the commission, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. By authorizing a new use of MHSA moneys, this bill would amend the MHSA. The bill would state the findings and declarations of the Legislature that this change is consistent with and furthers the intent of the MHSA.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

Existing law establishes within the Department of Housing and Community Development the California Housing Finance Agency and provides that the primary purpose of the agency is to meet the housing needs of persons and families of low or moderate income. Existing law requires the agency to administer, among other programs, a home purchase assistance program to assist low- and moderate-income homebuyers with qualifying for the purchase of owner-occupied homes, as specified.

This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would provide loans and grants to homeowners in disadvantaged communities for the purpose of home improvement and repair.

Vote: MAJORITY2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Mental health needs that are not addressed early in life can have severe consequences, including increased difficulties at home, with peers, and in school. Youth with mental health needs are at a higher risk of dropping out of school and engaging in illegal substance use, criminal behavior, and other risk-taking behaviors.
(b) Across California, children and youth experience high rates of students’ disconnection, victimization, and signs of mental health needs. Approximately one in three high school students feel chronically sad and hopeless, almost one in five high school students have seriously considered suicide in the past year, one in five high school students report being harassed or bullied, and less than one-half of high school students report feeling connected to their school. Fifteen percent of students do not graduate from high school.
(c) Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including economic hardship, are often the root cause of student distress and school failure. Exposure to ACEs can derail healthy brain development and put children at risk for poor educational and mental health outcomes.
(d) For children in community mental health programs, experiencing trauma increases the likelihood of being suspended or expelled from school from 15 percent to 50 percent.
(e) Fifteen percent of all California children have experienced two or more ACEs. African American children are nearly two times more likely to have experienced two or more ACEs than non-Hispanic, white children.
(f) Twenty-one percent of students live with families where basic needs for food and housing are not being met. This rate is even higher for African American and Latinx students, with more than one in four of those students living with families where basic needs are not being met.
(g) In the County of Los Angeles, the most populated county in California, the majority of African American students are enrolled in schools that are racially isolated in impoverished communities with limited resources. African American students are more likely to live with families with economic hardships, experience homelessness, and have families impacted by incarceration. Disparities in trauma and related educational outcomes include all of the following:
(1) African American students have the highest rates of chronic absenteeism among racial-ethnic groups.
(2) Although suspension rates have declined for African American students, the current rate is disproportionately 6 percent higher than other racial-ethnic groups.
(3) Only 55 percent of African American male students with a disability graduate from high school on time.
(4) Less than one-half of African American students are college ready.
(h) Early diagnoses and appropriate services for children and their families can make a positive difference in the lives of children at risk for or living with mental health needs.
(i) California has implemented the ACEs Aware Initiative to identify ACEs early in children and adults by training Medi-Cal providers and reimbursing them for screening. Successfully linking children and families with resources requires data sharing and coordination across health care and education to improve outcomes.
(j) California does not have integrated data systems to coordinate services and support and reduce disparities in mental health and education outcomes. Integrated data systems enable better planning, decisionmaking, service delivery, evaluation, and continuing quality improvement.
(k) Many of the performance indicators tracked by local school districts and the State Department of Education are considered proxies for unmet trauma and mental health needs, including low achievement, chronic absenteeism, and school suspension, which disproportionately impact children from diverse communities.
(l) Better data coordination can help better understand the causes, including the role of trauma and unmet mental health needs in school failure.

SEC. 2.

 Section 5845.3 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

5845.3.
 (a) The commission shall develop a statewide monitoring strategy for school mental health outcomes to support public understanding of how mental health services support the needs of children and transitional age youth in California schools. As part of this strategy, the commission shall develop an integrated data system, linking education and mental health data to identify, develop, and monitor indicators of student mental health and wellness.
(b) The commission shall develop a transparency and accountability strategy for local government mental health programs to support public understanding of how children and transitional age youth are accessing services and care and how local governments and schools are spending mental health funds. This strategy shall allow for public awareness and monitoring of publicly funded or supported mental health programs statewide, aggregated by county, counties acting jointly, county-school partnerships, or by another type of jurisdiction, as determined by the commission. To support this strategy, the commission shall include information on both of the following:
(1) The nature of services available, the geographic location where services are provided, the intended population to be served, and if the services are available through the county, school-based or school-linked entities, other public entities, or private contracts.
(2) The number of persons served and information on demographic characteristics, including, but not limited to, age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language spoken, and other characteristics intended to improve public understanding of children and youth served by mental health programs and how these programs link to school services and outcomes.
(c) (1) The commission shall develop an outcome transparency and accountability strategy to support public awareness and monitoring of school outcomes and the link to publicly funded or supported mental health programs, aggregated by county, counties acting jointly, county-school partnerships, or by another type of jurisdiction, as determined by the commission. To the extent information is available, historical information on mental health and school outcomes and information on mental health and school outcomes for the most recently completed fiscal year shall be used.
(2) The commission shall, as it deems necessary, identify or develop the school outcomes and measures to be addressed in the strategy required pursuant to paragraph (1), which may include, but are not limited to, the outcomes identified in subdivision (d) of Section 5840, including school failure or dropout, reductions in homelessness, unemployment, removal of children from their homes, suicide, incarcerations, and prolonged suffering, and other measures associated with access to mental health services and supports, the quality of those services and supports, and the outcomes that result from accessing those services and supports. For purposes of this strategy, “removal of children from their homes,” means involvement with the child welfare system, the juvenile justice system, or other out-of-home placement, as determined by the commission.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, the commission shall have access to data, information, policies, procedures, and practices held or maintained by the State Department of Health Care Services and other departments within the California Health and Human Services Agency, the State Department of Education, and other state and local agencies, as necessary, to comply with the requirements of this section. In accessing data pursuant to this subdivision, the commission shall comply with all applicable federal and state privacy and confidentiality laws.
(2) The departments within the California Health and Human Services Agency, the State Department of Education, and other state and local agencies shall cooperate and share data with the commission to accomplish the intent of this section.
(e) The commission shall consider whether existing regulatory reporting requirements are adequate to develop the strategies described in subdivisions (a), (b), and (c), and shall revise those regulatory reporting requirements that are under the commission’s jurisdiction, and recommend revisions of the requirements that are not under the regulatory jurisdiction of the commission, if the commission determines it is necessary, to support enhanced reporting, transparency, and accountability.
(f) Consistent with subdivision (b) of Section 5846, the State Department of Health Care Services shall issue, and periodically update, regulations regarding demographic reporting or other requirements that are consistent with regulations adopted by the commission and support the transparency and accountability strategy developed by the commission.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

SEC. 4.

 The Legislature finds and declares that this act is consistent with and furthers the intent of the Mental Health Services Act within the meaning of Section 18 of the Mental Health Services Act.
SECTION 1.

It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would provide loans and grants to homeowners in disadvantaged communities for the purpose of home improvement and repair.