Budget Advocacy

Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Priorities

Adolescent Substance Abuse Screening (SBIRT): DPH Line Items #4590-0250, #4512-0200

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a set of tools that helps identify alcohol or drug use and guides follow-up counseling and treatment if a problem exists. With adolescents, SBIRT is an effective prevention and early intervention strategy. Training school nurses, guidance counselors, and other support staff in SBIRT enhances a school’s ability to identify risky substance use, provide a brief intervention, and prevent illness and injury. 

FY 2016 funding level: $1.1M between School Health Services and Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. Funding is continued in the Governor’s FY17 proposal.

FY 2017 funding request: Level funding to support full implementation of school-based substance about prevention and early intervention with the use of validated tools. 

Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP) Assessment Language

MCPAP meets a critical need in promoting capacity for behavioral health in primary care at a time when integration efforts brought about health care payment reform are taking shape. For example, MCPAP has been instrumental in helping PCPs meet their legal obligation to perform mental health screenings by providing assistance with diagnosis and treatment planning to the PCPs for more than 98% of the youth in the Commonwealth.

Approximately 50-60% of children served by MCPAP are privately insured. The CMHC urges continuation of language requiring commercial insurers to cover the cost of serving their members.

Mental Health Consultations in Child Care Settings: DEEC Line Item #3000-6075

The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Service Program provides social and emotional development supports and guidance for early education programs serving young children, from age birth to five. The services promote the well-being of all children in a classroom and the specific needs of children with emotional and behavioral challenges.

FY 2016 funding level: $750,000. Transferred to Line Item #3000-1020 in Governor’s FY17 proposal.

FY 2017 funding request: Level funding for the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Service Program to continue to bring needed services to children in early childhood settings.

Increased Access to Behavioral Health Services: DMH line item 5042-5000

DMH and DEEC have begun a collaborative effort to improve behavioral health services and supports for very young children. In FY 2017 these efforts will bring additional focus to;

  • increasing capabilities within the ECMH consultation network to meet the needs of early child care centers;
  • development of  strategies for identifying children most at risk for mental and behavioral health challenges and intervening earlier (and by extension, reducing the likelihood of their expulsion or suspension from early child care settings)
  • providing training opportunities for pediatricians, Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative providers and other community based professionals who provide behavioral health services to very young children and their families.

FY 2017 funding request: $50,000  to support the activities of the collaboration