House and Senate Budget Items!

February 11, 2015

This past Sunday, February 8th, the House and Senate money committees released their budgets. The great news is that both the House and Senate prioritized funding for children’s mental health services– a positive step in strengthening our mental health system for children.  Here is what they did:

Children’s Crisis Services

The House fully funded our requested amendment, patroned by Delegate Yost, for an additional $2.5 million to expand the system of community-based crisis response and child psychiatry.  The Senate budget included an additional  $1 million to increase support for child psychiatry and children’s crisis response services, patroned by Senators Howell and Hanger.

This funding will build upon the base of $4.65 million in FY16 the legislature has provided the last three years to expand access and enhance services in all five health planning regions of the state. We know that these services are making a huge difference in the lives of children with serious mental health challenges and additional funding will increase capacity across the commonwealth.

Additional Staff at the Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents

The Senate included an additional $281,894 GF to hire a few additional Direct Care positions at the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents (CCCA), the only public inpatient psychiatric hospital for children in Virginia. The CCCA has seen a dramatic increase in admissions in 2014 and funding for additional staff is necessary to meet the demand.

 If you’d like to read the Health and Human Resources Subcommittees’ reports, click here for the House and click here for the Senate.

Once the full House and Senate each pass their own budget and reject the other chamber’s budget, a conference committee will be named to work out the differences. We will keep you updated on the budget and opportunities for advocating with the budget conferees.