Earlier this week, the Senate Education Committee, in a 3-2 vote, voted to strike down SB 431, a critical bill which allows schools and organizations to collect the data necessary to comply with federal prevention grants, including those utilized for the system of children's behavioral health care.
The Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative (CBHC) supports state-level policy changes to transform New Hampshire's current mental health and substance use disorder system into an integrated, comprehensive system of care that is family driven and youth guided, community-based, and culturally and linguistically competent. As we begin the 2018 legislative session, multiple bills are up for debate which will have incredible consequences for Granite State youth and families.
Take a look at some of the Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative's 2017 policy and advocacy wins. Thanks to all who made this possible!
May 1 – 7, 2017 was Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week in New Hampshire and what a week it was! Schools and community organizations throughout the state held over 20 events, trainings, and films. CBHC legislative priorities were advanced in the New Hampshire Senate. CBHC representatives gathered in Governor Sununu's office to hear his Children's Mental Health Awareness Week Proclamation. And over 80 legislators came to a policy lunch that focused on children's mental health services.
In 2016, with much input from the Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative, New Hampshire put into place a law which required the State to develop a comprehensive system of care for children with behavioral health needs. As an important piece of the law, the State must produce annual reports on their progress towards an integrated system of care.
Senate Bill 534, the major policy initiative of the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative, sponsored by Senator Jeanie Forrester, has passed two legislative milestones. On February 11, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted that the bill “ought to pass.” Then on March 3, the full Senate passed the bill. Both were moments that all Collaborative members can celebrate. The legislation next proceeds to House committees for approval.
On February 10, the N.H. House of Representatives voted in favor of reauthorizing the N.H. Health Protection Program, continuing health insurance coverage for nearly 48,000 Granite Staters. Approximately 6,700 of these individuals will likely access treatment services for substance use disorders. The N.H. Health Protection Program is the single-most important tool New Hampshire has to address its opioid epidemic, our state’s number one public health crisis.
The Laconia School District is in year three of Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Program implementation. The SS/HS Program has five elements of focus:
1) Promoting early childhood social and emotional learning and development
2) Promoting mental, emotional, and behavioral health
3) Connecting families, schools, and communities
4) Preventing behavioral health problems, including substance use
5) Creating safe and violence-free schools
The New Hampshire Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative and the New Hampshire Health & Equity Partnership joined forces to offer a 40-hour Diversity & Cultural Competence train the trainer program. From January 7th through January 13th our partners from FAST Forward, Safe Schools/Healthy Students, Project Aware, Project LAUNCH, and the Bureau of Developmental Services (Family Centered Early Supports and Services) participated in this interactive training.
"While there are certainly children and youth who should receive psychotropic medications, states must have oversight and monitoring mechanisms to determine when this is - or is not - the case."