Calif. Launches Audit of Mental Health Services for Students
The California state auditor has launched a review to determine whether students with disabilities are receiving adequate mental health services from school districts across the state, the CHCF Center for Health Reporting/Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
The center is supported by a grant from the California HealthCare Foundation, which publishes California Healthline.
The audit comes after a 2011 law shifted the responsibility for students' mental health services from counties to school districts.
Details of Audit
The audit was requested by state Senate Committee on Mental Health Chair Jim Beall (D-San Jose).
Beall said, "Right now, we literally don't have any results or information" on how many students with disabilities are receiving adequate mental health care since the law went into effect.
Critics of the 2011 law have said it has resulted in wide variations in the mental health care that is available to California students with disabilities.
Randall Hagar, director of government relations at the California Psychiatric Association, said the audit could help to address the disparities. "We've needed information to clarify how the state is doing and whether it's doing right by its kids," Hagar said, adding, "Once we get that data, we'll be able to figure out what the next steps are and how to improve care where it needs to be improved."
The audit aims to determine:
- How spending is allocated for mental health services in schools;
- Whether adequate mental health treatment is being provided by school districts and Special Education Local Plan Areas; and
- Whether the California Department of Education is providing proper oversight.
Beall said results from the audit are expected to be released in December (Wiener, "Capitol Alert," CHCF Center for Health Reporting/Sacramento Bee, 6/13).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.