What are School Based Mental Health Services? (AB 3232/SB26.5)
This program provides mental health services to Special Education students who have significant mood/behavioral problems impacting their education performance and require clinical intervention in order to successful at school. Chapter 26.5 services are designed to be short-term with the goal of addressing significant issues and then referring the student back to school staff for ongoing supports and services. Under Chapter 26.5, county mental health services are provided free of charge.
Who are the 26.5 Kids? A student eligible for 26.5 consideration is one: who has a current and valid Individualized Education Plan (IEP), for Special Education Services, and, whose educational needs require assistance in both educational and therapeutic areas that cannot be provided within the regular school program. Students with mood/behavioral problems at home only, (not at school), would not be eligible for 26.5 services.
What services are included under Chapter 26.5? If a child is found eligible for mental health services, services always include: individual assessment, and treatment recommendation to parent and IEP team. Treatment recommendations may include: individual therapy, group therapy, collateral services, medication monitoring (not including Medi-Cal), day treatment, and case management.
School districts have the responsibility for identification and referral of pupils to the Department of Mental Health, after ensuring the provision of counseling and other Designated Instruction Services (DIS); documenting that counseling has been insufficient to enable to pupil to benefit from the Special Education Program; and obtaining parental consent.
…kids are “left behind” all the time, every year. These are the kids who are misunderstood not only by the educational system, but also by society. We know parents who feel they failed their children, parents who feel they have tried everything and parents who finally give up. Our goal is to help those parents who are struggling with similar problems. We have finally made our way though the maze of school and government resources. We made it and hope to help others get the services they need for their children…
Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Together,a resource on how to get what your child needs from school districts, mental health providers and the legal system.