Policy Goals & Reports

Children’s Mental Health Budget Priority for General Assembly 2014


The Campaign’s two big priorities this session are crisis services and transition services.  We want to build on the last two year’s progress and augment existing funding so that more children can be reached with a more comprehensive array of crisis and child psychiatry services. Additionally, we support Governor McDonnell’s proposed budget items that support efforts to improve transition services for older teens with mental illness to help them engage in treatment and navigate the changing service delivery system as they become adults.

Children’s Crisis Services:

Senate Patron: Howell (Item 308 #21s) Co-Patrons:  Carrico, Hanger, Marsden, Watkins

House Patron:  Yost (Item 308 #21h) Co-Patrons: Bell, Robert, Brink, Farrell, Hope, Ingram, McClellan, O’Bannon, Plum

This budget amendment adds $2.4 million GF each year to create a more robust crisis response continuum of care for children in two regions or subregions of the state.

Transition-age services:

Support Governor McDonnell’s $3.5 million/$4 million GF to increase access to outpatient services for older teens and young adults.

Senate Patron: Deeds (Item 305 #25s): Co-Patrons: Ebbin, Favola, Howell, Marsden, McEachin, Petersen, Puller

House Patron:  Toscano (Item 305 #25h) Co-Patrons: Brink, Filler-Corn, Krupicka, Landes, Mason, Morrissey, Plum

This budget amendment adds $120,000 GF each year for a three-year pilot program to improve outcomes for teens with mental health disorders in Piedmont area.

Prioritizing Children’s Crisis Services and Transition Services

Update on Children’s Crisis Response and Child Psychiatry Projects: What’s Working Best

 2011 Report: Children’s Mental Health in Virginia

A status report the children’s mental health system in Virginia, including data from community services boards, CSA, juvenile justice and Medicaid.

Virginians Speak Out, May 2010

A summary of the findings and recommendations gathered by the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health after a series of regional forums around Virginia with service providers and families.

The overall goal of the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health is to make mental health services more available and accessible to the children in Virginia who need them, regardless of where the children live or what “system” identifies their needs. Children who receive services as soon as they begin to show symptoms are less likely to escalate to the point of crisis, which reduces the need for more expensive and restrictive treatments. The Campaign will work to achieve the following policy goals:

  • Increase the array of community-based services (both public and private), particularly intermediate services that avoid over-reliance on residential treatment.
  • Establish an integrated and consolidated system within state government with clear authority and adequate resources.
  • Increase uniformity of the system statewide so that families throughout Virginia, regardless of the jurisdiction in which they live, can access appropriate services.
  • Enhance the training of the current workforce and the capacity of the future workforce to treat children with evidence-based, best practice services.

General Assembly 2013:

 Expand Children’s Crisis Response Services and Child Psychiatry

Last year, the General Assembly funded projects in three of Virginia’s five regions (Southwest, Lynchburg and Richmond). These projects are producing positive outcomes for children and saving money. An additional $1.45 million is needed to fund the other two regions of the state – Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads – where there are 50,000 children with serious mental health disorders.

  • Please support the Governor’s amendment of $1 million for FY14
  • Please support an additional $450,000 (Item 315 #6h-O’Bannon; Item 315 #3s-Howell and Item 315 #9s-Hanger)

Session Summary:

Despite bitterly cold temperatures and snow on the ground, a dedicated group of advocates came to Richmond Jan. 24 for the second annual Children’s Mental Health Advocacy Day.

Family members and mental health providers talked to legislators about the importance of expanding state funding for children’s crisis response services and child psychiatry to all five health planning regions of Virginia. The day began with a briefing for advocates, followed by a Legislative Breakfast at the General Assembly Building for legislators and their aides.

As a result of these advocacy efforts, the Campaign secured $1.9 million in FY14 for children’s crisis response services and child psychiatry; this total includes the $1 million added by Gov. McDonnell and the $900,000 added by the General Assembly. The funding goes to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, which then awards it to the regional consortia of community services boards. Each region has a unique plan for serving children that meets the most urgent needs in its communities.

Due to the collective efforts of Voices for Virginia’s Children and its many partners in the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health, Virginia has appropriated $5.15 million in new funding for children’s mental health services in this two-year state budget cycle. This means that the estimated 100,000 children with serious mental health disorders in Virginia now have better access to child psychiatry and community-based crisis response services to help avoid hospitalizations and other out-of-home placements.

General Assembly 2012:

For children’s mental health, the focus in the 2012 General Assembly session is all on the budget. The Campaign’s two big priorities this session are child psychiatry demonstration projects and crisis response demonstration projects. Governor McDonnell did not include funding for children’s mental health services in his proposed budget; however, he did submit an executive amendment after the session started that adds $500,000 GF each year of the biennium for mobile crisis teams for children. Here are the details of the budget amendments for which the Campaign is advocating.

Child Psychiatry Demonstration Projects

Senate Patrons: Hanger, Howell (Item 315 #6s)

House Patron: O’Bannon (Item 315 #3h) Co-patrons: Bell, Richard, Brink, Hope, Ingram, Landes, Watts

This amendment provides $1.4 million GF each year to establish five child psychiatry demonstration projects. Funding will be used to create a project in each health district by hiring one individual for each region to direct the provision of clinical services in person or through telemedicine and provide extensive training and consultation with other children’s health care providers (e.g., general practitioners, pediatricians, nursing practitioners, and community service boards staff) to increase their expertise in the treatment of children with mental health disorders.

Crisis Response Demonstration Projects

Senate Patrons: Hanger, Howell (Item 315 #7s)

House Patron: O’Bannon (Item 315 #4h) Bell, Richard, Brink, Hope, Ingram, Landes, Watts and (Item 315 #8h) Patron: Englin, Co-patron: Herring

This amendment provides $16.3 million GF each year to establish children’s mental health crisis response projects in each health district (5 total). Each project will include a mobile crisis team and crisis stabilization unit. Mobile crisis teams are comprised of clinical and case management staff, including a child psychiatrist, that can assess, triage, and provide treatment services for a child in different settings such as home, school, after school programs, detention centers or other community location. A crisis stabilization unit is a short-term, residential option available to children who have been assessed by the mobile crisis team and determined to need more comprehensive services.

Here are other budget amendments we are following: 2012 GA Budget Amendments

General Assembly 2011:

Read the Campaign’s Session Wrap-Up

Washington Post editorial page opposes CSA budget cuts

Don’t Eliminate Non-Mandated CSA Funds- House version

Don’t Eliminate Non-Mandated CSA Funds- Senate version

Maintain Therapeutic Foster Care- House version

Maintain Therapeutic Foster Care- Senate version

Reinvest CSA savings in children’s mental health

Language Budget Amendments about Therapeutic Foster Care