OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 841



This bill establishes a 34-member Children's Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board. The board must advise agencies (the bill does not specify which ones); child and family mental, emotional, and behavioral health service providers; advocates; and others interested in Connecticut child and family well-being on:

1. executing the comprehensive behavioral health plan that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) developed, as required by law, in 2014 (see BACKGROUND);

2. cataloging (by agency, service type, and funding allocation) the mental, emotional, and behavioral services for Connecticut families with children to reflect the services' capacities and uses;

3. adopting standard definitions for episodes requiring care (it is unclear what this requirement means);

4. fostering collaboration of agencies, providers, advocates, and others interested in Connecticut child and family well-being to prevent or reduce the long-term negative impact of children's mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues.

By September 15, 2016, the board must begin annual reporting to the Children's Committee.

The bill also makes two technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015; upon passage for the technical changes.



DCF Commissioner Appointees. The DCF commissioner, or her designee, must serve on the board. The commissioner must also appoint the following board members:

1. eight representatives of families with children diagnosed with mental, emotional, or behavioral health issues;

2. two representatives of a private foundation that provides child and family mental, emotional, or behavioral health services in Connecticut;

3. four children's mental, emotional, or behavioral health care service providers who practice in Connecticut;

4. three representatives of private advocacy groups that provide child and family services in Connecticut; and

5. a United Way of Connecticut 2-1-1 Infoline program representative.

Legislative Appointees. The board must include a:

1. medical doctor representing the Connecticut Children's Medical Center emergency department, appointed by the House majority leader;

2. Connecticut school superintendent, appointed by the Senate majority leader;

3. Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership representative, appointed by the House minority leader; and

4. Connecticut Association of School-Based Health Centers representative, appointed by the Senate minority leader.

Other Agency Representatives. The board must include the following members, or their designees:

1. the developmental services, social services, public health, mental health and addiction services, education, early childhood, and insurance commissioners;

2. the executive directors of the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division and the Commission on Children; and

3. the child and healthcare advocates.

Leadership and Meetings

All members must be appointed by July 31, 2015 and serve initial three-year terms. Subsequent appointees serve two year terms. Members can be reappointed. The appointing authority must fill any vacancy within 30 days. Each member is entitled to one vote. A majority of members constitutes a quorum to (1) transact business, (2) exercise power, or (3) perform any legally authorized or imposed duty.

The DCF commissioner selects two board chairpersons from among the board's members. The chairpersons must schedule the first meeting, which must be held by August 30, 2015.


The board's annual report to the Children's Committee must include:

1. the status of the implementation plan's execution;

2. the collaboration level between agencies and stakeholders involved in its execution;

3. any recommendations for improving (a) the plan's execution or (b) agency and stakeholder collaboration; and

4. any additional information the board deems necessary and relevant to prevent or reduce the long-term negative impact of children's mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues.


Comprehensive Behavioral Health Plan

PA 13-178 required DCF, in consultation with various entities, to develop a comprehensive implementation plan across agency and policy areas for meeting the mental, emotional, and behavioral health needs of all children in the state and preventing or reducing the long-term negative impact of children's mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues.

The plan, submitted to the Children's Committee in October 2014, includes several goals, including:

1. redesigning the publicly financed system of children's behavioral health care to direct allocation of new and existing resources;

2. implementing evidence-based promotion and universal prevention models across all age groups and settings to meet the statewide need;

3. building and adequately providing an array of behavioral health care services to meet child and family needs that is accessible to everyone and equally distributed throughout the state; and

4. including youth with behavioral health needs and their family members in the behavioral health system's governance and oversight.


Committee on Children

Joint Favorable Substitute