Amended in Assembly May 28, 2015

Amended in Assembly May 6, 2015

Amended in Assembly April 6, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 580


Introduced by Assembly Member O'Donnell

February 24, 2015


An act to addbegin delete Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 44700) to Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2 ofend deletebegin insert Section 33319.6 toend insert the Education Code, relating tobegin delete school employees.end deletebegin insert pupil health.end insert

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 580, as amended, O'Donnell. begin deleteSchool employees: in-service training: early identification of pupil mental health issues. end deletebegin insertPupil mental health: early identification and referral: model referral protocol.end insert

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Existing law provides that school districts and county offices of education are responsible for the overall development of a comprehensive school safety plan for each of their constituent schools, and encourages school safety plans to include clear guidelines for the roles and responsibilities of certain parties with school-related health and safety responsibilities, as specified.

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This bill would require the State Department of Education and a county office of education designated by the department to jointly develop a model referral protocol, as provided, for addressing pupil mental health concerns. The bill would require the department and designated county office of education to consult with county offices of education and school districts that participated as regional leaders in a statewide pupil mental health initiative supported by the California Mental Health Services Authority, to be selected jointly by the department and designated county office of education. The bill would also state various findings and declarations of the Legislature relating to pupil mental health.

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Existing law establishes a system of public elementary and secondary schools in this state. Existing law provides for the establishment of local educational agencies to operate public elementary and secondary schools and provide instruction to pupils. Existing law requires local educational agencies to actively and systematically seek out all individuals with exceptional needs, from birth to 21 years of age, inclusive, who reside in a school district or are under the jurisdiction of a special education local plan area or a county office of education.

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This bill would state the Legislature’s findings and declarations regarding pupil mental health issues. The bill would require school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to provide in-service training every school year to certified employees that provide instruction to pupils in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and to classified staff who have regular personal contact with pupils, on the early identification of pupil mental health issues, as specified. The bill would authorize those entities to provide the required training in an online format outside of a regularly scheduled staff meeting. The bill would provide that the Legislature encourages these entities to provide the required training as part of a larger initiative aimed at improving mental health outcomes for pupils, and to use existing funds from other state and federal sources, as appropriate, to provide the required training. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

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The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

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This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

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Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: begin deleteyes end deletebegin insertnoend insert.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

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P3    1

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
2following:

3(1) Research points to a strong connection between mental
4wellness and academic achievement.

5(2) Research demonstrates that early detection and treatment
6of mental illness improves attendance, behavior, and academic
7achievement.

8(3) It is estimated that 20 percent of children have mental health
9issues, 80 percent of whom are estimated to be undiagnosed and
10untreated. The lack of attention to a child’s mental health has
11significant effects on his or her school achievement and life
12outcomes.

13(4) Mental health challenges disproportionately impact pupils
14who face stressors such as violence, trauma, and poverty.

15(5) California’s educators report their lack of preparedness in
16addressing pupil mental health challenges as a major barrier to
17instruction. Most educators and staff lack training to identify pupils
18who may be in need of support and to make referrals, as
19appropriate, to help pupils overcome and manage mental health
20issues and succeed in school.

21(6) Several initiatives are underway to improve the early
22identification and referral of pupils for help with mental health
23challenges. These include the California County Superintendents
24Educational Services Association’s K-12 Student Mental Health
25Initiative, funded by the California Mental Health Services
26Authority; the federally funded Now is the Time Advancing
27Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) State Educational
28Agency grant program administered by the State Department of
29Education; Training Educators through Recognition and
30Identification Strategies (TETRIS); the Eliminating Barriers to
31Learning (EBL) project administered by the State Department of
32Education and funded by the California Mental Health Services
33Authority; and the Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup
34established by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the
35California Mental Health Services Authority.

36(7) In spite of these efforts, no model referral protocol exists to
37guide schools and local educational agencies in appropriate and
38timely intervention for pupil mental health concerns.

P4    1(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to direct the
2development of a model, evidence-based referral protocol for
3addressing pupil mental health concerns that may be voluntarily
4used by schoolsites, school districts, county offices of education,
5charter schools, and teacher and administrator preparation
6programs.

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7begin insert

begin insertSEC. 2.end insert  

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begin insertSection 33319.6 is added to the end insertbegin insertEducation Codeend insertbegin insert, to
8read:end insert

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9

begin insert33319.6.end insert  

(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms
10have the following meanings:

11(1) “Designated county office of education” means a county
12office of education selected by the department that has experience
13in administering a statewide pupil mental health initiative
14supported by the California Mental Health Services Authority.

15(2) “Participating local educational agency” means a county
16office of education or school district selected jointly by the
17department and designated county office of education that has
18participated as a regional leader in a statewide pupil mental health
19initiative supported by the California Mental Health Services
20Authority. The department and designated county office of
21education shall ensure that participating local educational
22agencies selected for purposes of this section reflect the geographic
23and socioeconomic diversity of the state.

24(b) The department and designated county office of education
25shall jointly, in consultation with participating local educational
26agencies, current classroom teachers, and current schoolsite
27classified staff, develop a model referral protocol for addressing
28pupil mental health concerns. The protocol may be used, on a
29voluntary basis, by schoolsites, school districts, county offices of
30education, charter schools, and by teacher and administrator
31preparation programs operated by institutions of higher education.
32The protocol shall do all of the following:

33(1) Address the referral by school staff of pupils with mental
34health concerns. The protocol may, at the discretion of the
35department and designated county office of education, include the
36continuum: from prevention, to identification, to referral for
37services.

38(2) Reflect a multitiered system of support processes.

39(3) Be adaptable to varied local service arrangements for mental
40health services.

P5    1(4) Reflect evidence-based and culturally appropriate
2approaches to pupil mental health referral.

3(5) Address the inclusion of parents and guardians in the
4referral process.

5(6) Be written to ensure clarity and ease of use by certificated
6and classified school employees.

7(7) Reflect differentiated referral processes for pupils with
8disabilities and other populations for whom the referral process
9may be distinct.

10(8) Be consistent with state activities conducted by the
11department in the administration of federally funded mental health
12programs.

13(c) The designated county office of education acting jointly with
14the department shall be selected by the department and shall have
15experience in administering a statewide pupil mental health
16initiative supported by the California Mental Health Services
17Authority.

18(d) The department and designated county office of education
19are encouraged to consult with the California Mental Health
20Services Authority, representatives of county mental health
21programs, and the Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup in
22the development of this protocol.

23(e) The department shall post the model referral protocol on its
24Internet Web site so that it may be accessed and used by local
25educational agencies and charter schools.

26(f) This section is contingent upon funds being appropriated for
27its purpose to either the department or the designated county office
28of education in the annual Budget Act or other legislation, or other
29state, federal, or private funds being allocated for this purpose.

30(g) The model referral protocol shall be completed and made
31available within one year of the date funds are received to
32implement this section.

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33

SECTION 1.  

Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 44700)
34is added to Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Education Code,
35to read:

 

P6    1Chapter  3.3. In-Service Training: Early Identification
2of Pupil Mental Health Issues
3

 

4

44700.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
5following:

6(1) In 2012, the Superintendent convened the Student Mental
7Health Policy Workgroup, a collaboration between the department
8and the California Mental Health Services Authority, to develop
9policy recommendations that promote early identification, referral,
10coordination, and access to quality mental health services for
11pupils. The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup is comprised
12of teachers, school counselors, school social workers, school
13psychologists, school nurses, and school administrators, as well
14as state and county mental health professionals.

15(2) The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup has issued a
16 recommendation calling for increased training of school personnel,
17in order to promote earlier identification and intervention to meet
18the needs of California’s pupils.

19(3) The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup has found
20the following:

21(A) Research points to a strong connection between mental
22wellness and academic achievement.

23(B) Research demonstrates that early detection and treatment
24of mental illness improves attendance, behavior, and academic
25achievement.

26(C) The percentage of children with mental health issues is
27estimated at 20 percent, with 80 percent of those undiagnosed and
28untreated. The lack of attention to their mental health has
29significant effects on school achievement and life outcomes.

30(D) Mental health challenges disproportionately impact pupils
31who face stressors such as violence, trauma, and poverty.

32(E) Mental health training for educators and other adults working
33with pupils can help identify mental health issues early, allowing
34pupils the opportunity to grow and thrive by receiving the support
35they need to overcome barriers to their education.

36(F) California’s educators report their lack of preparedness in
37addressing pupil mental health challenges as a major barrier to
38instruction. Most educators and staff lack training to identify pupils
39who may be in need of support, make referrals, and, as appropriate,
P7    1to help pupils overcome or manage mental health barriers and
2succeed in school.

3(G) Statewide action is needed to expand training throughout
4California so that all school staff can help address the significant
5mental health needs of pupils.

6(H) While some parts of the state have benefited from mental
7health training on a small scale, limited budgets have restricted
8the reach of training that is critically needed in all districts.

9(I) Federal grant funds are now available for pilot programs in
10school districts and county offices of education to help disseminate
11mental health training throughout the state.

12(J) The department has been authorized to administer the federal
13“Now is the Time” AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience
14in Education) State Agency Program grant.

15(K) This program will build and expand statewide awareness
16of mental health issues among pupils by supporting training for
17school personnel and other adults who interact with pupils to
18identify possible mental health issues and connect pupils to
19appropriate services.

20(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature that California
21educators become knowledgeable about early identification of
22pupil mental health issues, including protocols for pupil referral
23for additional support.

24

44701.  

(a) (1) Within the first six weeks of every school year,
25as part of a regularly scheduled staff meeting or meetings, each
26school district, county office of education, and charter school shall
27provide in-service training to certificated employees that provide
28instruction to pupils in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12,
29inclusive, and to classified staff who have regular personal contact
30with pupils, on the early identification of pupil mental health issues,
31including referral protocols. For classified staff, the training may
32occur at a time other than a staff meeting, but in all cases shall
33occur during regular work hours.

34(2) The training required pursuant to paragraph (1) may instead
35be provided in an online format outside of a regularly scheduled
36staff meeting.

37(b) The Legislature encourages school districts, county offices
38of education, and charter schools to provide the training described
39in subdivision (a) as part of a larger initiative aimed at improving
40mental health outcomes for pupils.

P8    1(c) The Legislature encourages the use of existing funds from
2other state and federal sources, as appropriate, to meet the
3requirement of subdivision (a).

4

44702.  

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as doing
5either of the following:

6(a) Requiring school personnel to identify, assess, diagnose, or
7treat pupil mental health issues.

8(b) Authorizing or encouraging school personnel to act outside
9of the authority granted by their credential or license.

10

SEC. 2.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
11this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
12local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
13pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
144 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

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