BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1644


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          Date of Hearing:  April 20, 2016 


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair


          AB  
          1644 (Bonta) - As Amended April 14, 2016


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          |             | Health                        |     | 18-0        |
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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill recasts and renames the Early Mental Health Initiative  
          (EMHI) as the HEAL Trauma in Schools Act, expands the program to  
          serve preschool and transitional Kindergarten students, and  
          establishes the program for four years to provide outreach, free  








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          regional training, and technical assistance for local  
          educational agencies (LEAs) providing mental health services at  
          school sites. Specifically, this bill:  





          1)Requires the Department of Public Health (DPH), in  
            consultation with the Superintendent of Public Instruction  
            (SPI), the Director of Health Care Services, and the Attorney  
            General to encourage and support local decisions to provide  
            funding for eligible support services. 



          2)Requires LEAs to prioritize children who have been exposed to  
            childhood trauma, including students in foster care and those  
            who are homeless, when determining which students receive  
            services under the program.  


          3)Requires DPH to inform LEAs and county mental health agencies  
            of the program and provide free regional training to LEAs  
            including: intervention and prevention services, parent  
            involvement, teacher and staff conferences and training,  
            referral to outside resources, and use of paraprofessional  
            staff, counselors, and social workers.  


          4)Requires DPH to provide technical assistance to assist in  
            designing programs, training staff, conducting evaluations,  
            and leveraging funds that are subject to local control.


          5)Requires DPH to prioritize training and technical assistance  
            as follows:










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             a)   During the first 12 months of the program, provide  
               support services at schoolsites that previously received  
               funding pursuant to the HEAL Trauma in Schools Act that  
               demonstrate the willingness and capacity to participate in  
               the program.


             b)   During the subsequent 36 months of the program, select  
               new schoolsites that are not providing eligible support  
               services but that demonstrate the willingness and capacity  
               to participate in the program. 


          6)Requires DPH to submit an interim report to the Legislature at  
            the end of the second year of the program that details support  
            provided to schoolsites and includes an assessment of the  
            demand and impact of funding for the HEAL Trauma in Schools  
            Act.


          7)Requires DPH to develop an evaluation plan to assess the  
            impact of the program and submit a report to the Legislature  
            at the end of the four-year period to evaluate the impact of  
            the program and provide recommendations for further  
            implementation.


          8)Makes implementation of the HEAL Trauma in Schools Act  
            contingent upon an appropriation in the annual budget act.


          9)Sunsets the program on January 1, 2022.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)General Fund administrative costs to the Department of Public  
            Health (DPH) of approximately $300,000 to oversee the program,  








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            provide outreach, free regional training, and technical  
            assistance to school sites over four years.  DPH will also  
            incur costs related to interim reporting requirements and  
            final evaluation of program.


          2)Proposition 98 General Fund cost pressure, likely in the  
            millions of dollars, to fund grants pursuant to the HEAL  
            Trauma in Schools Act.  This bill specifies the program is  
            contingent upon an appropriation in the annual budget act.  
            Costs to administer program will depend upon the size and  
            scope of the grants. In prior years the state provided $15  
            million (Proposition 98/GF) to support a substantially similar  
            program, Early Mental Health Initiative (EMHI).


          COMMENTS:


          1)Background. Between 1991 and 2011, the state Department of  
            Mental Health (DMH) operated the Early Mental Health  
            Initiative (EMHI).  Beginning with the 1997-98 fiscal year,  
            the state provided $15 million (Proposition 98/GF) in matching  
            grant funds to approximately 150 programs.   Funds were  
            primarily used to hire trained paraprofessionals (aides) to  
            meet with children identified as needing support services.  
            Aides generally meet with each child, or group of children,  
            for 30 to 40 minutes, once a week to play games, draw or talk.  
            Small group settings also allow children to develop skills  
            such as making friends and resolving conflicts.


            In 2012, DMH was eliminated and programs under the  
            department's jurisdiction were transferred to the Department  
            of Health Care Services.  In the same year, Governor Brown  
            redirected Proposition 98 funds to local education agencies.    
            The following year the state created the Local Control Funding  
            Formula (LCFF) and eliminated approximately three quarters of  
            all K-12 categorical programs, representing a significant  








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            shift away from state control and toward local  
            decision-making.  


            The author is proposing to reinstate the components of the  
            EMHI program, renaming it the HEAL Trauma in Schools Act, and  
            expands the program to support students from preschool to  
            third grade. 


          2)Technical amendment. The bill gives priority for outreach and  
            assistance to schools that previously received funding under  
            the HEAL Trauma in Schools Act. This bill establishes the HEAL  
            Trauma in Schools Act. The author intended for priority to go  
            to prior EMHI grantees. Staff recommends a technical amendment  
            to clarify prior EHMI grantees receive first priority for  
            assistance. 


          3)Prior related legislation. AB 1133 (Achadjian) of this Session  
            would have established a program substantially similar to the  
            one proposed by this bill.  It would have established 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 LEAs in providing mental health services at  
            school sites. This bill was held on the Suspense file in this  
            committee. 


          Analysis Prepared by:Misty Feusahrens / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081















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