October 16, 2006
Governor George Pataki recently signed into law The Children's Mental Health Act of 2006 (Chapter 667, Laws of 2006). The new law "directs the establishment of a children's mental health plan by the Commissioner of Education in cooperation with the Commissioner of Mental Health and the voluntary implementation by school districts of such plan statewide."
• Requiring the state to develop a Children's Mental Health Plan - The plan must contain short and long term recommendations to provide
comprehensive, coordinated mental health services for children through age 18. The plan must include prevention, early intervention, and treatment services.
• Creating a Children's Mental Health Advisory Board to develop and monitor implementation of the Plan and report to the Governor.
• Requiring the Department of Education to develop and implement regs to incorporate social and emotional development into elementary and
secondary educational standards and programs in every school district. Important: It it will be voluntary for school districts to use the plan.
Obviously, the voluntary aspect of this will affect what does and does not get implemented. It absolutely presents an opportunity for local advocates to be sure children with mental health needs get appropriate services.