Schools’ New Mental Health Role

DRC Logo From Disability Rights California: For many years, California has provided school-related mental health services to special education students through county mental health agencies. This program is known as AB 3632 services, or in some counties, Chapter 26.5 or AB 2726 services. Last week, California passed a law that returns legal responsibility to school districts for providing school related mental health services to special education students. This does not change your children’s right to receive mental health services that they need to benefit from education.

The change in this law means that your school district will now be responsible for all of the services that used to be provided jointly by your school and your county department of mental health. School districts are receiving millions of dollars from the federal and state governments to provide these services to your children. The program for providing mental health services has NOT ended. Some school districts may enter into agreement with a county, so that the county mental health agency will continue to provide the services. Other school districts will provide the mental health services directly or contract with another agency to provide the service. Article continues here.


Changes to Regional Center services

Changes in the law enacted by the legislature effective July 1, 2011, have again resulted in how and if services are provided by the Regional Centers serving children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Here is a summary of changes which might in particular apply to families with children ages birth to 22 years:

  1. Responsibility for Prevention Services has now been transferred to the Family Resource Centers which also provide Family Support under the Early Intervention Program. As a Family Resource Center, Matrix will hold that responsibility in our area. See the PRRS portion of our website for more information.
    An Annual Family Program Fee will now be charged annually in addition to the Family Participation Costs that families pay for specified services. A family whose income is in excess of 400% of the Federal Poverty Level will be charged $150 per year.
  2. Special Education instead of Adult Services for 18-22 year olds. If a student remains eligible for special education services between the ages of 18 and 22, they are not eligible for adult services from the Regional Center unless they have received a diploma or certificate of completion.
  3. Receipt of Behavior Services provided for children under the age of 18 must be verified in writing by parents to ensure that services are delivered. Additionally, the law allows for the use of behavioral services paraprofessionals—qualifications to be determined.

Additional changes in the law might apply to your situation. Remember, there are appeal rights and exception policies for most determinations made by the Regional Centers.