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The Florida Senate

CS/CS/HB 945 — Children’s Mental Health

by Health and Human Services Committee; Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee; and Reps. Silvers, Webb, and others (CS/CS/SB 1440 by Appropriations Committee; Children, Families; and Elder Affairs Committee; and Senators Powell and Rouson)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee (CF)

The bill requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to identify children, adolescents, and young adults age 25 and under who are the highest users of crisis stabilization services. The bill also requires DCF to collaboratively take action to meet the behavioral health needs of such children. The bill directs these agencies to jointly submit a quarterly report to the Legislature during Fiscal Years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 on the actions taken by both agencies to better serve these individuals.

The bill requires the behavioral health managing entities (MEs) to create plans that promote the development and implementation of a coordinated system of care for children, adolescents, and young adults to integrate behavioral health services provided through state-funded child serving systems and to facilitate access to mental health and substance abuse treatment and services. The bill requires DCF to contract with the MEs for crisis response services provided through mobile response teams (MRTs) to provide immediate, onsite behavioral health services 24 hours per day, seven days per week within available resources.

When contracting for an MRT, MEs must collaborate with local sheriff’s offices and public schools in the selection process. The bill also requires that the MRT establish response protocols with local law enforcement agencies, community-based care lead agencies, the child welfare system, and the Department of Juvenile Justice, and requires that the MRT provide access to psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners. The bill requires MRTs to refer children, adolescents, or young adults and their families to an array of crisis response services that address their individual needs.

The bill requires MEs to promote the use of available crisis intervention services. The bill requires contracted providers to give parents and caregivers of children who receive behavioral health services information on how to contact an MRT.

The bill amends foster parent preservice training requirements to include local MRT contact information and requires community-based care lead agencies to provide MRT contact information to all individuals that provide care for dependent children.

The bill requires principals of public and charter schools to verify de-escalation procedures have been followed and an MRT has been contacted prior to initiating a Baker Act of a student unless the principal or their designee reasonably believes a delay will increase the likelihood of harm to the student or others.

The bill requires DCF and AHCA to assess the quality of care provided in crisis stabilization units to children and adolescents who are high utilizers of such services and submit a joint report on their findings to the Governor and Legislature by November 15, 2020. The bill also requires AHCA to regularly test Medicaid managed care plan provider network databases to ensure that behavioral health providers are accepting enrollees and confirm sufficient access to behavioral health systems.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2020.

Vote: Senate 40-0; House 110-0