Legislative Session Prioritizes Behavioral Health for ChildrenThe 2022 Connecticut Legislative Session opened on February 9th and will adjourn on May 4th. This is a quick 4-month timeframe with alternating years extending the session to a full 6 months.
Congratulations to DCF Legislative Program Director Vinny Russo who has taken on the role as Government Affairs Advisor in the Office of Governor Ned Lamont during this Legislative session.
A team approach is being taken to handle the Legislative activities at DCF, with Bureau Chief of External Affairs Ken Mysogland taking the lead with support from Assistant Legal Director Kate Dwyer and Executive Assistant Johanna Schmidt.
Chief Fiscal Officer Melanie Sparks has done fantastic work on the budget, assessing the Fiscal impact of proposed legislation and for being available 24/7/365 for all of us!
Children's Behavioral Health is a priority this legislative session. In particular, HB-5001 and SB-2 are the largest and most comprehensive bills which propose additional supports for children and families across the state. Some key highlights in this pending legislation include:
- Establishing a Children's Behavioral Health Cabinet to oversee the coordination and programming for the entire children's behavioral health system
- Enhancing Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services for children
- Developing a system to divert behavioral health calls from 911 to adult or children's behavioral health agencies
- Creating an advertising campaign across Connecticut to increase awareness regarding supports for children and families
- Establishing license reciprocity across states for behavioral health clinicians
- Creating guidelines for permanent telehealth
- Training community providers to administer the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment tool (SBIRT)
- Providing a greater array of behavioral health supports for students within the school setting
Additional proposals include:
- Establishing an Educational Unit within DCF to oversee the education of youth in Juvenile Justice facilities
- Developing and providing Bystander and Support for Sexual Assault Victims training for school personnel
- Adding certain Youth Camp staff members as mandated reporters
- Mandating Police Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians to provide information regarding family supports to domestic violence victims
We are grateful for the support from the Appropriations, Public Health, Human Services and Judiciary Committees for their tireless efforts to enhance the well-being of children across our state. Furthermore, for the countless discussions and public hearings with the Committee on Children leading to strengthening legislation to better support families and protect children. Their membership includes:
Co-Chair Senator Saud Anwar
Co-Chair Representative Liz Linehan
Vice-Chair Mary Welander
Ranking Member Representative Anne Dauphinais
Ranking Member Senator Kevin Kelly
Representative Patrick Boyd
Representative Robin Comey
Representative Jaime Foster
Representative Robin Green
Representative Brian Lanoue
Senator Christine Cohen
Senator Marilyn Moore
Representative Maryam Khan
If you would like to receive the weekly Legislative updates, please contact e-mail Ken.Mysogland@ct.gov to be included in the list.