California Schools Chief Releases Federal Funds for Mental Health Care
On Friday, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said that he would allocate $76 million in federal funding to help continue mental health services for students, the Ventura County Star reports (Carlson, Ventura County Star, 10/29).
When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed the stage budget package last month, he used line-item vetoes to eliminate $133 million in funding for county-run mental health programs (California Healthline, 10/25).
Federal law requires that mental health services be provided to students who need them. Since the mid-1980s, county mental health departments have administered the services (Ventura County Star, 10/29). After the governor's cuts, the responsibility for mental health services likely shifted from counties to local school districts.
Schwarzenegger's office said the line-item vetoes were necessary and legal. His administration has not said whether the mental health services now will be funded by school districts or other entities.
Advocates of mental health services and disability rights recently filed a lawsuit alleging the governor violated the federal rights of more than 20,000 special education students when he cut funds from the mental health program (California Healthline, 10/25).
The $76 million for student mental health services will be distributed through the California Department of EducationÂ as part ofÂ students' individualized education program (KHTS, 10/29).
However, the funds represent only about one-third of what will be neededÂ for the mental health services, according to officials (Ventura County Star, 10/29).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.