BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 580 (O'Donnell) - Pupil mental health: model referral  
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          |Version: June 24, 2015          |Policy Vote: ED. 7 - 0, HEALTH  |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: August 17, 2015   |Consultant: Jillian Kissee      |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

          Summary:  This bill requires, upon funding provided for this  
          purpose, the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop  
          model referral protocols for schools to use to address student  
          mental health concerns.  

          Impact:  This bill creates a cost pressure to provide funding  
          for development of model referral protocols for which the CDE  
          anticipates would require five partial positions and about  
          $136,000 General Fund.  This bill could also result in local  
          cost pressures to implement the protocols once developed.

          Background:  The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  
          provides that students with exceptional needs identified as  
          having "emotional disturbance" may be eligible to receive mental  


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          health services.  Mental health services are considered "related  
          services" and include counseling, psychological services, parent  
          counseling and training, and residential placement, among  
          others.  (United States Code, Title 20,  1400 et seq. and Code  
          of Federation Regulations, Title 34,  300.34)  

          AB 114 (Committee on Budget, Chapter 43, Statutes of 2011),  
          shifted responsibility for mental health services for students  
          from counties to local educational agencies (LEAs).  Any and all  
          services identified in a student's individualized education  
          program must be provided, whether directly by LEA employees or  
          through contract with outside providers such as county mental  
          health agencies.  LEAs are required to ensure services are  
          provided to students regardless of who provides or pays for  
          those services.  (Education Code  56139)

          Current law is silent on how school employees should refer  
          students for mental health assessments and services but it is  
          likely that they notify the school or school district counselor,  
          psychologist, or nurse of students' mental health concerns.

          Proposed Law:  
            This bill requires the CDE to develop, and post on its  
          website, model referral protocols for addressing student mental  
          health concerns.  Implementation of this bill is contingent upon  
          funds being appropriated for this purpose to the CDE in the  
          annual Budget Act or other legislation, or state, federal, or  
          private funds.
          In developing the protocols, the CDE must consult with a number  
          of specified entities and other professionals involved in  
          student mental health as the CDE deems appropriate.

          Use of the protocols is voluntary for schools, school districts,  
          county offices of education, charter schools, the state special  
          schools for the blind and deaf, and school nurse preparation  
          programs operated by institutions of higher education.

          The protocols must do a number of things including: address the  
          appropriate and timely referral by school staff of students with  
          mental health concerns; reflect a multitiered system of support  
          processes and positive behavioral interventions and supports;  


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          and be consistent with state activities conducted by the CDE and  
          the administration of federally funded mental health programs.

     Legislation:1)  AB 104 (Committee on Budget, Ch. 13, 2015) appropriates $10  
          million to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide  
          technical assistance and develop statewide resources to assist  
          local educational agencies to establish and align systems of  
          learning and behavioral supports.

     AB 1133 (Achadjian, 2015 ) establishes a four year pilot program, the  
          School-Based Early Mental Health Intervention and Prevention  
          Services Support Program to provide outreach, free regional  
          training, and technical assistance for local educational  
          agencies in providing mental health services at school sites.   
          AB 1133 was held on the Assembly Appropriations Committee's  
          suspense file.

     AB 1018 (Cooper, 2015) requires the CDE and the Department of Health  
          Care Services (DHCS) to convene a task force to examine the  
          delivery of mental health services through the Early and  
          Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment services.  AB 1018  
          is pending in the Senate Health Committee.

          Comments:  As the findings and declarations of this bill state,  
          there are several existing statewide student mental health  
          initiatives.  The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup (one of  
          the entities this bill requires the CDE to consult with) was  
          convened in 2012 by the CDE and the California Mental Health  
          Services Authority to develop policy recommendations that  
          promote early identification, referral, coordination, and access  
          to quality mental health services for students.  In addition,  
          California received $9.7 million from the federal "Now is the  
          Time Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education"  
          last fall in which three local educational agencies (LEAs) were  
          selected to participate.  The LEAs will establish a process for  
          referring and connecting children to mental health services.  If  
          successful, the models developed by these LEAs can be shared  
          statewide.  Because these efforts are already underway, this  


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          bill presents new requirements for the CDE regarding development  
          of protocols, including broad statewide consultation, which  
          would likely necessitate additional resources.
          If implemented, this bill authorizes, but does not mandate, the  
          use of the model protocols and therefore would not result in a  
          reimbursable state mandate for schools to implement the  

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