Code Section

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC


  ( Division 5 repealed and added by Stats. 1967, Ch. 1667. )


  ( Part 4 repealed and added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1229, Sec. 2. )

CHAPTER 3. Mental Health Student Services Act [5886- 5886.]
  ( Chapter 3 added by Stats. 2019, Ch. 51, Sec. 67. )


(a) The Mental Health Student Services Act is hereby established as a mental health partnership competitive grant program for the purpose of establishing mental health partnerships between a county’s mental health or behavioral health departments and school districts, charter schools, and the county office of education within the county.

(b) The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission shall award grants to county mental health or behavioral health departments to fund partnerships between educational and county mental health entities.

(1) County, city, or multicounty mental health or behavioral health departments, or a consortium of those entities, including multicounty partnerships, may, in partnership with one or more school districts and at least one of the following educational entities located within the county, apply for a grant to fund activities of the partnership:

(A) The county office of education.

(B) A charter school.

(2) An educational entity may be designated as the lead agency at the request of the county, city, or multicounty department, or consortium, and authorized to submit the application. The county, city, or multicounty department, or consortium, shall be the grantee and receive any grant funds awarded pursuant to this section even if an educational entity is designated as the lead agency and submits the application pursuant to this paragraph.

(c) The commission shall establish criteria for the grant program, including the allocation of grant funds pursuant to this section, and shall require that applicants comply with, at a minimum, all of the following requirements:

(1) That all school districts, charter schools, and the county office of education have been invited to participate in the partnership, to the extent possible.

(2) That applicants include with their application a plan developed and approved in collaboration with participating educational entity partners and that include a letter of intent, a memorandum of understanding, or other evidence of support or approval by the governing boards of all partners.

(3) That plans address all of the following goals:

(A) Preventing mental illnesses from becoming severe and disabling.

(B) Improving timely access to services for underserved populations.

(C) Providing outreach to families, employers, primary care health care providers, and others to recognize the early signs of potentially severe and disabling mental illnesses.

(D) Reducing the stigma associated with the diagnosis of a mental illness or seeking mental health services.

(E) Reducing discrimination against people with mental illness.

(F) Preventing negative outcomes in the targeted population, including, but not limited to:

(i) Suicide and attempted suicide.

(ii) Incarceration.

(iii) School failure or dropout.

(iv) Unemployment.

(v) Prolonged suffering.

(vi) Homelessness.

(vii) Removal of children from their homes.

(viii) Involuntary mental health detentions.

(4) That the plan includes a description of the following:

(A) The need for mental health services for children and youth, including campus-based mental health services, as well as potential gaps in local service connections.

(B) The proposed use of funds, which shall include, at a minimum, that funds will be used to provide personnel or peer support.

(C) How the funds will be used to facilitate linkage and access to ongoing and sustained services, including, but not limited to, objectives and anticipated outcomes.

(D) The partnership’s ability to do all of the following:

(i) Obtain federal Medicaid or other reimbursement, including Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment funds, when applicable, or to leverage other funds, when feasible.

(ii) Collect information on the health insurance carrier for each child or youth, with the permission of the child or youth’s parent, to allow the partnership to seek reimbursement for mental health services provided to children and youth, where applicable.

(iii) Engage a health care service plan or a health insurer in the mental health partnership, when applicable, and to the extent mutually agreed to by the partnership and the plan or insurer.

(iv) Administer an effective service program and the degree to which mental health providers and educational entities will support and collaborate to accomplish the goals of the effort.

(v) Connect children and youth to a source of ongoing mental health services, including, but not limited to, through Medi-Cal, specialty mental health plans, county mental health programs, or private health coverage.

(vi) Continue to provide services and activities under this program after grant funding has been expended.

(d) Grants awarded pursuant to this section shall be used to provide support services that include, at a minimum, all of the following:

(1) Services provided on school campuses, to the extent practicable.

(2) Suicide prevention services.

(3) Drop-out prevention services.

(4) Outreach to high-risk youth and young adults, including, but not limited to, foster youth, youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, and youth who have been expelled or suspended from school.

(5) Placement assistance and development of a service plan that can be sustained over time for students in need of ongoing services.

(e) Funding may also be used to provide other prevention, early intervention, and direct services, including, but not limited to, hiring qualified mental health personnel, professional development for school staff on trauma-informed and evidence-based mental health practices, and other strategies that respond to the mental health needs of children and youth, as determined by the commission.

(f) The commission shall determine the amount of grants and shall take into consideration the level of need and the number of schoolage youth in participating educational entities when determining grant amounts.

(g) The commission may establish incentives to provide matching funds by awarding additional grant funds to partnerships that do so.

(h) Partnerships currently receiving grants from the Investment in Mental Health Wellness Act of 2013 (Part 3.8 (commencing with Section 5848.5)) are eligible to receive a grant under this section for the expansion of services funded by that grant or for the inclusion of additional educational entity partners within the mental health partnership.

(i) Grants awarded pursuant to this section may be used to supplement, but not supplant, existing financial and resource commitments of the county, city, or multi-county mental health or behavioral health departments, or a consortium of those entities, or educational entities that receive a grant.

(j) (1) The commission shall develop metrics and a system to measure and publicly report on the performance outcomes of services provided using the grants.

(2) (A) The commission shall provide a status report to the fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature on the progress of implementation of this section no later than March 1, 2022. The report shall address, at a minimum, all of the following:

(i) Successful strategies.

(ii) Identified needs for additional services.

(iii) Lessons learned.

(iv) Numbers of, and demographic information for, the schoolage children and youth served.

(v) Available data on outcomes, including, but not limited to, linkages to ongoing services and success in meeting the goals identified in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c).

(B) A report to be submitted pursuant to this paragraph shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(k) This section does not require the use of funds allocated for the purpose of satisfying the minimum funding obligation under Section 8 of Article XVI of the California Constitution for the partnerships established by this section.

(l) The commission may enter into exclusive or nonexclusive contracts, or amend existing contracts, on a bid or negotiated basis in order to implement this section. Contracts entered into or amended pursuant to this subdivision are exempt from Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 14825) of Part 5.5 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, Section 19130 of the Government Code, and Part 2 (commencing with Section 10100) of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code, and shall be exempt from the review or approval of any division of the Department of General Services.

(m) This section shall be implemented only to the extent moneys are appropriated in the annual Budget Act or another statute for purposes of this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2020, Ch. 370, Sec. 271. (SB 1371) Effective January 1, 2021.)