PA 15-27—sSB 841

Committee on Children

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Education Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A COMPREHENSIVE CHILDREN'S MENTAL, EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PLAN

SUMMARY: This act establishes a 34-member Children's Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board.

The board must advise specified individuals and entities 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 and measurements for the services delivered, when applicable; and

4. fostering collaboration among 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.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERSHIP

DCF Commissioner Appointees

The DCF commissioner or her designee must serve on the board. The commissioner must also appoint the following 18 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 mental, emotional, or behavioral health services to children and families 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 also 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 Healthcare 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, early childhood, education, insurance, mental health and addiction services, public health, and social services 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.

ADVISORY BOARD LEADERSHIP, MEETINGS, AND DUTIES

All members must be appointed by July 31, 2015 and serve initial three-year terms. Subsequent appointees serve two-year terms. Members may be reappointed. The appointing authority must fill any vacancy within 30 days.

The DCF commissioner must select two board members to serve as chairpersons. The chairpersons must schedule the first meeting, which must be held by August 30, 2015. The board must meet at least quarterly.

Each member is entitled to one vote. A majority of members constitutes a quorum to transact business, exercise power, or perform any legally authorized or imposed duty.

The board must advise the following individuals and entities:

1. DCF and the developmental services, education, insurance, mental health and addiction services, public health, and social services departments;

2. the early childhood, child advocate, and health care advocate offices;

3. the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division;

4. the Commission on Children;

5. child and family mental, emotional, and behavioral health service providers;

6. advocates; and

7. others interested in the well-being of Connecticut families and children.

ANNUAL REPORT

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

1. the status of the comprehensive behavioral health plan;

2. the collaboration level between agencies and stakeholders involved in the plan's execution;

3. any recommendations for improving the plan's execution or 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.

BACKGROUND

Comprehensive Behavioral Health Plan

PA 13-178 requires DCF, in consultation with various entities, to develop a comprehensive implementation plan across agency and policy areas for (1) meeting the mental, emotional, and behavioral health needs of children in the state and (2) 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 the following goals, among others:

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 for such models;

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

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

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