Bill Would Fund Mental Health Care for Children Experiencing Trauma
On Tuesday, Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) introduced a bill (AB 1644) that would restore funding for a California program that supports preschool and elementary school students who have experienced various kinds of trauma, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
California's Early Mental Health Intervention program provided mental health care to children struggling with anxiety, withdrawal and other symptoms related to trauma and stress. Almost 80% of the children who received such services at 464 elementary schools improved their social skills and behavior in class, according to state research.
However, the program was "pushed aside" four years ago following budget cuts and changes to education funding (Tucker, San Francisco, 1/12).
Details of Bill
In addition to restoring funding for the Early Mental Health Intervention program, AB 1644 would establish a four-year pilot program would help certain schools and communities provide mental health services by offering:
- Training; and
- Technical assistance.
Bonta said, "A child's exposure to trauma is one of the greatest public health threats of our time, seriously compromising a child's long-term physical and emotional well-being."
The bill is supported by:
- California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D); and
- Children Now.
In a statement, Harris said, "Childhood trauma can have a devastating and lasting impact not only on our children but also on our families and our communities," adding, "The evidence is clear that when we don't intervene, many children are more likely to be either victims or perpetrators of crime" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.