News & Information

This part of the website is an area to post an introduction to a list of topics that the Board & Friends thought would be interesting and relevant to the CMHACY community.  It is open to ongoing revision and contribution.  Please share your ideas about additional resources and new topics to include for the Board to review by submitting them to the

CMHACY Supports Prop 47:

Dear Assemblymember McCarty:

On behalf of the following organizations, we are writing to urge the budget subcommittee to invest in the following programs that can have a significant impact in addressing the Local Control Funding Formula’s (LCFF) priorities 5 and 6 by improving student engagement and school climate.


The Legislature established and funded two critical programs through the creation of the Prop. 47 Learning Communities for School Success Program and the California Scale Up MTSS—Multi-Tiered System of Support—Statewide (SUMS) initiative. Additionally, building on past successes with the “California Healthy Kids” battery of surveys to assess student, teacher, and parent needs, there have been continuing efforts to support districts in measuring school climate and student engagement through school climate surveys that are consistent with LCFF priorities.


Adequate funding for these initiatives is critical for schools and districts, enabling them to address LCFF identified priorities and ultimately reduce suspensions and chronic absence, while improving the relationships and practices needed to improve school climate and student engagement. They support the training and implementation activities needed to advance restorative justice, social-emotional learning, positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), culturally responsive practices, trauma-informed strategies, school-based mental health, and school-community connections.


Districts need more support with training and implementation of the aforementioned positive school climate approaches. In fact, almost 90 percent of teachers with the California Teachers Association polled by EdSource said they still need more training and support to implement alternative school discipline approaches.


California voters have made it clear that a safe and positive school environment in particular is their top priority for evaluating schools, and more resources are needed to ensure that this priority is effectively addressed through positive and restorative practices that foster safe, effective and positive learning environments needed for our children and youth to succeed.



Prop 47 – Learning Communities for School Success Program (LCSSP) Request: $50M


Proposition 47 and accompanying legislation (AB 1014/SB 527) established the LCSSP and required 25 percent of the savings from the early release of non-violent offenders to be used to help build the capacity of local educational agencies to identify and implement evidence-based, non-punitive programs and practices to keep our most vulnerable pupils in school. Last year the LCSSP grants provided  approximately $37 million to 35 grantees to support their plans to improve school climate and student engagement. Competitive and targeted, this grant program was significantly oversubscribed and provided critical resources to implement evidence-based programs, with funding of up to $1.7 million for the large districts in cohort 1.


Districts, county offices of education, and one charter school received grants to support MTSS, PBIS, restorative practices, family/parent engagement and community collaboratives among other activities. Grantees were awarded resources based on the rigor of their plans and the connection to their larger goals to meet the state’s priorities under LCFF.


Yet demand for these funds far outpaces available funding. Initially approximately 300 school districts and other local educational agencies (LEAs) submitted letters of intent to apply for funds. Even in the face of so much competition, 150 districts moved forward in applying, exceeding the number of grants awarded by a more than 4-to-1 margin. In the early months of implementation, nearly 90% of grantees reported already using funding for PBIS and/or restorative practices. With additional funding, hundreds of other districts can benefit from the Learning Communities for School Success Program.


While the LAO initially estimated there would be hundreds of millions in savings from Proposition 47, conservative estimates from the Department of Finance have now resulted in a fraction of the expected funding. Finance estimates recognized a mere $15.2 million as K-12’s share of the annual savings from the early release of non-violent offenders that would thus be available for grants in FY 2018-19.  Fortunately, in the past the Legislature recognized this injustice and exercised discretion to add more funding ($18 million in 2016-17) to the Learning Communities for School Success Program, utilizing one-time Proposition 98 funding. 2018-19 presents a crucial opportunity to expand this program to meet the documented need, with significant one-time Prop. 98 funding available this year.


We recommend the budget subcommittee increase this program funding by an additional $50 million.


Scale Up MTSS Statewide (SUMS) Initiative                                          Request: $20 M


In California, MTSS is an integrated, comprehensive framework that focuses on CCSS, core instruction, differentiated learning, student-centered learning, individualized student needs, and the alignment of systems necessary for all students’ academic, behavioral, and social success. MTSS enables systematic change through intentional design and redesign of services and supports that quickly identify and match the needs of all students.


Since 2015 California has invested $30 million in the SUMS initiative, which has supported MTSS implementation statewide to help equip school districts with tiered interventions and supports for students. Most funds went to hundreds of districts for important but relatively modest grants of $25,000 to identify district needs, priorities, resources and programs within a tiered system of support and to carry out associated training and activities needed to address an identified gap within the district’s support system.


These resources have provided critical infrastructure and technical assistance to ramp up the most comprehensive tiered support model embraced by California to address the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of every child. MTSS programs include positive approaches to school discipline, like social-emotional development, which are essential to helping students overcome barriers to learning and to improve school climate. Comprehensive support structures and services also address issues of mental health and trauma, along with the critical needs of our children in special education and the multitude of other needs of children.


We believe California’s continued commitment to ensuring the MTSS framework is necessary at this time to ensure widespread implementation before withdrawing support too soon. In fact, this is what happened in Michigan where schools saw the percentage of students meeting state reading benchmarks rise from 52 percent to more than 60 percent in the first three years, while behavior problems fell. But Steve Goodman, the project director of Michigan’s multitiered-systems initiative, found that after that initial strong beginning, implementation dropped off rapidly after the third year, when start-up funding from the federal economic stimulus dried up. Fewer than one-third of schools met state implementation benchmarks, according to a study in 2014. More than 4 in 5 schools simply stopped reporting student data by the fourth year of the program. That was a disappointment, Goodman said, since the schools that did fully implement the framework saw much bigger gains, particularly in student behavior.


Unfortunately, the SUMS initiative was only funded for two years, and received no funding in the FY 2017-18 FY budget. The SUMS program needs continued funding to develop long-term MTSS infrastructure in the form of a comprehensive tiered model of support in every California school district. Many schools and districts are working to support teachers and staff to implement positive approaches as part of a larger effort to develop multiple levels of student support, and just like common core implementation, ongoing time and resources are needed for long-lasting utilization.


We recommend the budget subcommittee increase funding for the MTSS SUMS initiative to $20 million in FY 2018-19.


Statewide School Climate and Engagement Survey                            Request:   $10 M 


Use of school climate surveys are not only required by LCFF, they are also essential to provide a comprehensive and holistic understanding of all aspects of the school, community, and learning environment to help shape continuous improvement strategies.


Dating back to 1999, California has developed a well-regarded survey, the California Healthy Kids Survey, which together with interrelated parent and staff surveys, comprise the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey (CAL-SCHLS). CHKS is used by approximately 70% of school districts.


However, there is no ongoing state funding to support CAL-SCHLS. CDE currently needs to cobble together funds to supplement survey administration and help subsidize the costs to districts. Currently, CDE and DHCS provide $916,000 annually to WestEd to support the survey and reporting of results. Most comes from CDE, with DHCS providing $100,000. Districts are now required to pay 40 cents per student for CHKS and additional costs for disaggregating results by subgroup, as well as further costs for staff and parent surveys.


Prices are likely to increase without dedicated funding to support administration of surveys as demand increases. In addition to more districts likely to utilize these surveys, the number of districts conducting annual surveys (vs. every other year) is likely to continue to increase, especially given LCFF/LCAP’s focus on annual updates and the support of CDE’s School Conditions and Climate Work Group for annual surveys.


In 2011, the Legislature passed SCR 18 declaring the intent of the Legislature to pursue every means necessary to ensure that CAL-SCHLS remains viable and to pursue federal funding, grants, or other sources for school districts receive the necessary funding to support the CAL-SCHLS surveys.


Increased support for CHKS and related staff and parent surveys would encourage more districts to use this California-developed survey, support annual use of these surveys, and enable statewide data collection to identify trends on school climate and student engagement, facilitate comparisons across districts, and identify best practices.


New school climate survey funding would:

  • enable districts to conduct surveys free of charge without paying fees per student or set up fees;
  • support the basic staffing and infrastructure for survey administration and revisions, data collection, and reporting support;
  • fund annual school-level reports, and district reports disaggregated by subgroup, both of which LEAs currently must request and pay for;
  • support annual data analysis including statewide reports and subject-specific fact sheets;
  • provide workshops to assist schools and districts in how to most effectively utilize the surveys, and identify and implement school climate improvement strategies; and
  • support the identification and administration of a few other approved surveys, consistent with CDE’s School Conditions and Climate Work Group recommendation to provide several options for districts.


Finally, we want to thank the leadership of this committee for the vision you have established and investments you have made into these programs over the last few years. We believe these recommendations are critical to sustaining and improving the programs that you have personally and collectively championed.


On behalf of the following organizations, we urge you to consider these recommendations to support these critical programs. Please do not hesitate to contact Brian Lee at,  Brad Strong at or Angelica Salazar at if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance in furthering the development of these recommendations.


Most Sincerely,



Debra Watkins, Executive Director

A Black Education Network


Sylvia Torres-Guillén, Dir. of Education Equity

ACLU of SoCal


Marc Philpart, Principal Coordinator

Alliance for Boys and Men of Color


Darryl White, Chair

Black Parallel School Board


Heidi Holmblad, Executive Director

California Association of School Psychologists


Marty Giffin, Ph.D., Executive Director

CA Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth


Brad Lee Strong, Senior Director

Children Now


Shimica Gaskins, Executive Director

Children’s Defense Fund-California


Anabel Agloro Kingwood, J.D., Policy Director

Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth


Tavae Samuelu, Executive Director

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)


Samuel Nunez, Executive Director

Fathers & Families of San Joaquin


Brian Lee, California State Director

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
Roberto Eligio Alfaro, M.A., Executive Director



Abigail Trillin, J.D., Executive Director

Legal Services for Children


Felipe Mercado Ed.D., MSW

Madera Unified


Israel Villa, Program and Policy Coordinator



Jake Ferreira, California State Director

Mission: Readiness


Jesse Hahnel, Executive Director

National Center for Youth Law


Tarah Fleming, Education Director

Our Family Coalition


Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO



Stella Connell Levy, J.D., Founder/President

Restorative Schools Vision Project


Corey Jackson, Chairman/CEO

Sigma Beta Xi Inc.


Vanessa Marrero, Director

Sustain Educator Leadership and Agency (SELA)


Ryan Smith, Executive Director

The Education Trust–West


Laura Kanter, Director of Policy and Advocacy

The LGBT Center OC

Mental Health  

What is mental health treatment? 

  • The use of psychological, counseling, and coaching methods to alleviate mental symptoms, behavior problems, and/or functional impairments.
  • Methods include counseling, coaching, psychotherapy, psychiatry, medication, social work methods, recreation and occupational therapies, and other approved methods.


What are Evidence Based Practices? 

  • The American Psychological Association states – “Evidence-based practice is the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture and preferences.”
  • Leading EBP’s for our our youth:
  1. TF-CBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Treatment) For young people who have experienced a traumatic experience, relationship, or similar
  2. CBT – (Cognitive Behavioral Treatment) For anxiety and depression
  3. FFT – (Functional Family Therapy) For youth with conduct problems in a family setting
  4. TIP (Transiton to Independece Prqactice) For transiton aged youth (16-29)
  1. American Psychological Association. (2002). Criteria for evaluating treatment guidelines. American Psychologist, 57, 1052-1059.
  2. Institute of Medicine. (2001). Crossing the quality chasm: A new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  3. Sackett, D. L., Straus, S. E., Richardson, W. S., Rosenberg, W., & Haynes, R. B. (2000). Evidence based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM(2nd ed.). London: Churchill Livingstone.


Alcohol and Other Drug/Substance Use Disorders   

  • Simple explanation here
  • 2-3 treatment pathways


Trauma – a simple definition is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience: Child traumatic stress occurs when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or traumatic situations that overwhelm their ability to cope. Some traumas are caused by natural disasters or events, such as Hurricane Katrina or an airplane accident.  Others are caused by interpersonal violence such as abuse, kidnapping, etc.  Another type is called complex trauma, caused by repeated and multiple exposure to many child maltreatment events such as maltreatment, neglect, abuse, domestic violence, etc.    


Psychotropic medication  

At any one time approximately twenty percent of all children suffer from a mental health problem; 5 percent of all children have a severe problem.   These problems can be associated to several things including the environment (such as family, school, and  friends), one’s general health and, sometimes, genetic influences.   There are various ways of decreasing the suffering including working with a therapist, changing one’s behavior and, if necessary, taking medication for a brief period in order to live a more satisfying life.    The array of mental health services available includes various types of psychotherapy and medication.  In most instances, for example, for minimal moderate distress, a psychotherapist will provide services.  If these do not make a difference, sometimes medication will be helpful along with the psychotherapy.  One way it does this is to help a person not be overly impacted by the symptoms of their illness and thus make better use of the counseling and other social and educational interventions.

Medication has recently been the focus of a lot of scrutiny especially in the public media.  Every child and family must clearly understand what the benefits and disadvantages (risks) are of starting a course of medication.  No child should be forced to take medication.  Some medications do have side effects that must be monitored along with the benefits; children and families should become familiar with the common side effects.  It is every client and family’s right to ask their child’s psychiatrist about the benefits and risks of any medicine they are offered and receive an answer in language they can understand.  This also creates better partnership and respect between family, client, and doctor.

There has been a lot of recent information regarding the use of medications in children.  Here are some of those links:



  • The critical role of education and the rights involved.
  • School-Based services
  • AB 114 Transition – AB 114, the 2011-12 education budget trailer bill, eliminated all statue and regulations relate to AB 3632 which had been the authority for providing mental health services to students in special education whose handicapping condition is emotional disturbance and who required mental health services in order to benefit form the free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to which they are entitled. The bill transferred responsibility and funding for educationally related mental health services, including residential services, from county mental health and child welfare departments to education. A complete audit of the program and transition is available here,
  • Special education/504/ADA
  • Confidentiality and sharing information


Child Welfare   

  • Continuum of Care Reform
  • Katie A.


Health Care   

  • Affordable Care Act
  • Mental health parity
  • Integrated services
  • Sharing information/confidentiality


Juvenile Justice   

  • Overview –The world of  juvenile justice and child welfare overlap.  Very often these are the same young people who have been “drafted” into government care and supervision through different pathways.  Yet their needs, backgrounds, concerns, and positive potential for future success are often very similar.
  • Young people who are detained for a criminal charge become wards of the court as a result of a hearing in front of a juvenile court judge.  The law is clear that the young person’s physical, mental, and emotional problems must be addressed while ensuring community and personal safety.
  • There are a wide variety of treatment methods for youngsters on juvenile probation, from mental health counseling, trauma informed services, wraparound, FFT, alcohol and drug treatment, social skills training, heightened supervision, etc.
  • Treatment  options
  • FFT, MST, others


Legal Issues   

  • Involuntary treatment — Involuntary treatment is the legal process by which individuals with mental disabilities may be admitted involuntarily to a designated psychiatric hospital for treatment. In California this law is the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act and it is located at California Welfare & Institutions Code Sections 5150 et seq. The initial hold is for 72 hours and may be followed by a 14-day hold. Additional holds (including an LPS conservatorship) are available if necessary. The criteria for involuntary treatment is the individual has a mental disability and because of that is gravely disabled, dangerous to self, or dangerous to others. For more information see:  
  • Minor consent — Minors 12 years of age or older may consent to outpatient mental health treatment and residential shelter services. They may not, however, consent to convulsive therapy, psychosurgery or psychotropic drugs without the consent of a parent or guardian. For more information on minor consent see
  • Sharing information/confidentiality
  • Access to Care
  • Sharing information/confidentiality
  • Education rights


Public Benefits   

  • MediCal/EPSDT


Transitional Age Youth   

  • FSP and other partnerships
  • TIM
  • Transition to Independence Process (TIP)
  • Work and Job Prep
  • Consumer Issues
  • Your voice and choice
  • Requesting a service
  • Making a complaint
  • Assertive partnership
  • What do different professionals and departments really do?
  • What are my Benefits?


Consumer Issues

  • Your voice and choice
  • Requesting a service
  • Making a complaint
  • Assertive partnership
  • What do different professionals and departments really do?
  • What are my Benefits?