April, 2013




SB374 -  An Act Requiring Behavioral Health Assessments for Children.

Would have required mental health assessment for homeschooled children.



HB5567 – An Act Concerning Children’s Mental Health

To establish a comprehensive children’s mental health plan to identify and manage mental health issues in children eighteen years old or less.

Died in Children’s Committee.


HB5534 – An Act Concerning Mental health Screening for Children.

To have children screened for mental health at their yearly exams.

Died in Public Health Committee.


S.B. 654 – An Act Creating a Mental Health First Aid Program.

So that parents will be better equipped to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness in their children and the community in general.

The Children’s Committee voted JF to Appropriations.  Deadline April 23, 2013.


SB650 – An Act Creating a Parents’ Support Hotline for Children Exhibiting Mental or Behavioral Health Issues.

  Sets up hotline.

  Sets up pilot program with college doing research to explore and mental and behavioral

  health needs of children.

The Children’s Committee voted JF to Appropriations.  Deadline April 23, 2013.


H.B. 6499 – An Act Concerning the Results-Based Accountability Assessment Program and Children’s Rights.

Task force created on U.N. Convention on Rights of Child.

To explore the effectiveness of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and determine whether the state's children would benefit from the United States Congress ratifying the convention.

Working group to be formed by January 15, 2014 to create goals for state policy to prevent abuse of children’s rights in the state, implement accountability measures to track goals and objectives of the convention, and urge Congress to ratify the Convention.

The Children’s Committee voted JF to floor.

Placed on the calendar of the House March 27, 2013 for a floor vote.


SB169 – An Act Concerning Mental Health Assessments for Children.

 The Children’s Committee revised, rewrote, and voted JF to floor. 

 Pilot program to “reduce the impact of mental or emotional trauma on children”.

 DCF as “lead agency” for children’s mental health.

 Requires DCF and DMHAS to develop a program to improve children’s mental health.

 Requires State DOE to revise its “guidelines” for addressing physical needs of children to include

  also mental health needs of children.

 Allows local districts to develop their own plans to address mental health needs of children.

 Pilot program –  
     expand the availability of social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health support in the

     community by identifying a network of mental health care providers and physicians;

screen children from birth through grade 12 for evidence of mental or emotional trauma; and

coordinate community support initiatives and outreach for children in this age range suffering from mental or emotional trauma;

ensure that children receive the necessary emotional and mental health support they need for academic and life success; and establish results-based accountability (RBA) measures to track its success.

 DCF –

     create guidelines, in cooperation with the SDE commissioner, to incorporate social and emotional

     development “standards” into elementary and secondary school education programs;

     recommend appropriations to state and local agencies for children’s mental health assessments,

     early intervention, and treatment; create a children’s mental health care system.

 DOE –

   The law directed SDE, by January 1, 2007, to develop guidelines for addressing the physical health   

   needs of students in a comprehensive way that coordinated services, including those provided by 

   local parks and recreation departments. The bill requires that these guidelines be updated by

   January 1, 2014 to also address mental health needs of students.

   The bill requires the guidelines to also include (1) plans for assessing student mental health, as well

    as physical health needs and strategies for addressing these needs.

 Placed on the Senate calendar March 27, 2013 for a floor vote.


S.B. 972 – An Act Concerning Children and Behavioral Health.

Children’s Committee to conduct a study to evaluate the current behavioral health support

system available to children in the state.

The Children’s Committee voted JF to floor.

Placed on Senate calendar March 27, 2013 for a floor vote.


S.B. 822 – An Act Concerning Interviews of Children by DCF during Investigations of Child Abuse and Neglect.

To permit the Department of Children and Families to interview a child in a child protective investigation without parental consent in circumstances when obtaining such consent would place the child at imminent risk of physical harm.

The Children’s Committee voted JF to floor.

Placed on Senate Calendar March 18, 2013 for a floor vote.


S.B. 833 – An Act Addressing the Medical and Educational Needs of Children.

To provide the Department of Children and Families or other appointed guardian with the authority to meet the medical and educational needs of a child under an order of temporary care and custody.

The Children’s Committee voted to JF to the floor.

Placed on Senate calendar on March 18, 2013 for a floor vote.


H.B. 1160 An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.

(Gun laws changed omitted from this summary but should be reviewed.)

Education/Mental Health -

  In service training to include mental health first aid training; mental health training may be a requirement for teacher certification.

 Task force established to study behavioral health services for 16-25 year olds; the task force “shall make recommendations…concerning behavioral intervention specialists in public and private schools and for preschool programs…employing the use of assisted outpatient behavioral health services and involuntary outpatient commitment as treatment options…conducting behavioral health screenings of public school children…requiring disclosure of communication by mental health professionals concerning persons who present danger to the health or safety of themselves or other persons.  DCF Commissioner is on task force. Other task force members to be appointed within thirty days of effective date of law. Task force to report to General Assembly February 1, 2014.

  Assertive community treatment program to begin in three cities to provide behavioral health support services to people with severe and persistent mental illness.

   DCF to establish and implement a regional behavioral health consultation and care coordination program for primary care providers who serve children. Access to a consultation team including a child psychiatrist, social worker, and care coordinator.  DCF to submit its plan by October 1, 2013.  DCF may adopt regulations to implement the program.

   School safety – Infrastructure standards developed by special Council; school districts can apply for grants for construction; Council to develop model blueprints in accordance with the standards; Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to develop school security and safety plan standards by January 1, 2014; safe school climate committee for each school to collect and evaluate information relating to disturbing or threatening behavior that may not meet the definition of bullying and report it to safety coordinator and committee; any parent serving as a member of school security and safety committee shall not have access to any information reported to the committee and may not participate in any activity of the committee that may compromise the confidentiality of a student; DMHAS and DOE to implement a mental health first aid training program to recognize mental disorders and connect child with professional for appropriate services; first aid mental health training to be provided to school safety coordinator; school district may require teachers and other employees to undergo first aid mental health training; colleges and universities to submit security protocol plan to Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and must review it with chief of police or campus security; each college or university must establish a trained threat assessment team for each campus; each member of threat assessment team must receive comprehensive training in identifying potentially at-risk students or other individuals on campus; a safety and security audit of every campus by Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is required and school must be able to successfully implement security protocol plan.

   Insurance – “Clinical peer” has to be someone with qualifications in children’s mental health; “urgent care request” means request for mental health services; makes changes to clinical review of requests to ensure complies with peer reviewed standards; makes criteria used for clinical review by insurance companies easily accessible to public; deviations from standards to be justified; requires procedures to ensure appropriate people are conducting clinical reviews; procedure to confer after adverse determinations; grievance procedures; determinations to be made quickly; reasons for denial including scientific evidence to be made available; links to documents made available; provides for expedited review requests.

Bill written on April 3, 2013, approved by Senate and House on April 4, 2013, and signed by Governor on April 5, 2013.

Bill is now Public Act 13-3.