Line-Item Veto Will Eliminate Mental Health Coverage for Some Children
About 15% of children enrolled in Children's System of Care, a program that provides intensive mental health services for children statewide, will lose coverage for mental health services as a result of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) line-item veto last month that "sliced almost all the funding" for the program, the Los Angeles Times reports (Fox, Los Angeles Times, 8/22). When Schwarzenegger in July signed a $105.3 billion fiscal year 2004-2005 state budget, he used his line-item veto power to exclude $39 million for health and social services, including about $20 million from the mental health program, which the administration said is outdated and has been replaced with another program. However, the governor maintained $350,000 in funding for the program's training center for county officials (California Healthline, 8/2).
Children's System of Care has provided therapy, case management, emergency intervention and cash aid for rent, food and clothing to children for 20 years. Although many children who participate in the program will be able to receive some mental health services through Medi-Cal, others will "lose all their mental health services," the Times reports. The funding reduction will affect about 4,000 children, including some who are violent or suicidal, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 8/22).