Legislative and

May 2021 Updates

The National Federation of Families (NFF) is involved at the national level in monitoring legislation, advocacy and funding opportunities and identifying resources that could aid
your work as the voice for families.
Federation in Action
The National Federation of Families actively represents you as part of the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG). The MHLG is a forum for collaboration among the leading national mental health and addiction-focused organizations. Together, we provide policymakers with information and support in advancing our shared policy priorities. The MHLG hosts congressional staff briefings to share information on trends and best practices in the field, provides annual recommendations on mental health and addiction funding in the federal appropriations bills, writes letters to Congress outlining our position on important legislation or offering suggestions for improving proposed policies and more.
NFF is a representative on MHLG 's Children's Committee and Peer Workforce Committee. As part of our work with MHLG Committee and its members, the National Federation of Families (NFF) has supported the following actions:

  • Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act -reintroduced by Senators Tina Smith (MN-D) and Lisa Murkowski (AK-R) and Representatives John Katko (NY-R) and Grace Napolitano(CA-D). The bill authorizes a loan repayment program for mental health professionals who serve in a mental health professional workforce shortage areas. Participants in the program can receive up to $250,000 in student loan repayment for student debt related to their mental health education, over 6 years of service.

  • Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act- introduced by Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-3). The bill which will support positive mental health promotion and suicide prevention programs in high schools would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a grant program that provides funding to school districts to strengthen awareness through prevention efforts, public health campaign materials, and other activities. More here.  

  • The STANDUP Act (H.R. 586), led by Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), would encourage States, Tribes, and schools to implement student suicide awareness/prevention training policies by conditioning the receipt of the SAMHSA mental health grant programs under 520A of the PHSA – including Project AWARE grants - on grant recipients having these policies established within three years of receiving the grant.

  • President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request on Mental Health and Addiction NFF joined members of MHLG in sending a letter of support for the 2022 budget request on mental health and addiction to Congressional Leadership. We wrote to express our strong support for President Biden’s recognition of the ongoing and significant unmet behavioral health needs of the nation as reflected in his Fiscal Year 2022 budget request. Given the serious challenges that Americans continue to experience, an increase in the annual appropriation of funds is desperately needed by states and providers to ensure the continued provision of crucial mental health and substance use disorder treatment and care in our communities.  

  • Supporting Eating Disorders Recovery through Vital Expansion (SERVE) Act H.R. 276 - Reintroduced in the House and Senate by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA), John Katko (R-NY), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX); and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).  This important legislation will expand access under TRICARE for eating disorders treatment for service members and their families and increase mental health early identification within the service. SERVE Act Infographic
NFF joined other national organizations in supporting:
  • The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and The Kennedy Forum urged the Department of Education (ED) to issue guidance that supported schools to prioritize funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, which provided nearly $130 billion to schools for reopening, for mental health services and supports as students return to in-person learning. The legislation made mental health services and supports and social emotional learning (SEL) allowable uses of these funds but did not require their use for this purpose. We were concerned that without additional guidance, schools could spend all their funds on other services and resources and not substantially invest in student mental health. We were particularly concerned that this would be the case in Title I schools and schools with high proportions of students of color, the exact schools where this type of investment is most needed.

  • The Mental Health Justice Act - introduced by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45), Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) . The Mental Health Justice Act would help local governments fund expenses for mental health provider first responder units to respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, The Mental Health Justice Act would create a grant program to pay for hiring, training, salary, benefits and additional expenses for mental health provider first responder units. Learn more

  • Parity Enforcement Act - reintroduced by Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01). H.R. 1364, which expands the U.S. Department of Labor’s authority to hold health insurers and plan sponsors accountable for offering health plans that violate the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Learn more here 
Legislative Updates
  • Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (S. 618 and H.R. 1704) More than 400 charitable nonprofits have signed onto a statement expressing strong support for “the bipartisan , as introduced, and urge Congress to include this bill in the next COVID-19 relief/recovery package or tax package.” The statement explains, “this legislation will further incentivize all taxpayers to give to charity – regardless of their income or whether they itemize – helping to spur even more giving as communities continue to fight and recover from COVID-19 and its economic effects.” See the Charitable Giving Coalition summary.

  • The Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well Act, or simply the WORK NOW Act (S. 740 and H.R. 1987) - Introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA). If enacted, the new program would provide grants to help nonprofit organizations retain their employees, scale their service delivery, and provide unemployed people with new jobs serving their communities. The WORK NOW Act would inject $50 billion into frontline nonprofits to enable them to pay the wages, salaries, and benefits of either existing employees or new employees. Most of the funds would be allocated through state, Tribal, and local governments; the Treasury Department would distribute the remainder through grants to national and regional nonprofit intermediary organizations.

  • Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0 - Introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Would authorize $785 million toward substance use prevention, treatment, criminal justice, and recovery programs. The legislation prohibits states from requiring prior authorization for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) under Medicaid, permanently allows providers to prescribe MAT via audio-only telehealth after criteria are met, removes limits on the number of patients a physician can treat with buprenorphine and methadone, and creates a pilot program to study mobile methadone clinics in rural and underserved areas. Read the section-by-section summary for more details.

  • Medicare Sequester Bill - The Senate recently passed legislation that would extend a delay on spending cuts to Medicare. The bipartisan amendment to the House-passed "pay-as-you-go" (PAYGO) waiver would extend a moratorium on a 2% cut to Medicare over the next nine months, moving the deadline to December 31. House lawmakers will need to vote on the legislation again before it goes into effect, however, and they are expected to do so when the chamber reconvenes this month. While the two percent cuts were scheduled to go into effect on March 31, CMS announced it has instructed Medicare Administrative Contractors to hold claims for a short period in a manner that will not impact providers.

  • The Family Support Services for Addiction Act of 2021 (H.R. 433) - introduced by Representatives David Trone of Maryland and Daniel Meuser of Pennsylvania, creates a grant program to help community organizations and nonprofits provide critical support services to relatives of those struggling with a substance use disorder.

  • Promoting Effective and Empowering Recovery Services (PEERS) in Medicare Act of 2021 (H.R. 2767)- Reintroduced by Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Adrian Smith (R-NE) . This legislation would expand access to mental health care by clarifying that peer support specialist services can be reimbursed through Medicare. The legislation was first introduced last Congress. The bill includes the first definition of peer support specialists in the Medicare program.
From the White House
American Jobs Plan

The Biden Administration released its proposed FFY 2022 “skinny” budget and the first part of an infrastructure plan, called the American Jobs Plan. The White House hopes that it will be passed by July 4th. Remember a proposed budget is just a starting point and what the final budget will look like will differ.

Here are some of the elements that are of interest for child and family advocates:
  • $7.4 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), an increase of $1.5 billion and an $11.9 billion investment in Head Start, a $1.2 billion increase.
  • An overall increase of 41% in K-12 education spending, including increasing Title I funding for historically under-resourced schools by $20 billion, providing a level of funding appropriated at $36.5 billion.
  • $200 million to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates nationwide, including funding aimed at Maternal Mortality Review Committees, expanding the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies Program (RMOMS), implementing implicit bias training for healthcare providers, and creating state pregnancy medical home programs.
  •  $100 million in new competitive grants for states to advance reforms that would reduce over representation of children and families of color in the child welfare system,
  • $200 million for states generally to respond to and prevent child abuse. 
  • The plan expands access to home- or community-based care for seniors and people with disabilities. It would extend a Medicaid program, Money Follows the Person, to move elderly residents out of nursing homes and back into their own homes or into the care of loved ones.

The American Jobs Plan is expected to be followed by a second economic package in April that includes a major expansion in health insurance coverage, child-care subsidies, free access to community colleges and other proposals.
American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan Act, which President Biden signed into law on March 11th included some critical support for children and families.

The following are some brief highlights:
  • A one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit
  • A third one-time direct cash payment. 
  • $40 billion in funding for child care—This funding includes a $25 billion emergency stabilization fund and an additional $15 billion in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program to ensure child care providers can safely operate, increase pay and benefits of child care workers, and reduce child care costs for families. 
  • An expansion of affordable health coverage
  • The bill includes $27.4 billion for rental assistance, $10 billion for homeowner assistance, $5 billion in Section 8 housing vouchers, $5 billion in homelessness assistance, and $5 billion in utility assistance to help families struggling to pay their rent, mortgage, or utilities during this crisis. Notably, the bill also sets aside $800 million under ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) funds to provide wraparound services for students experiencing homelessness. 
  • An expansion of nutrition assistance including an extension of the 15 percent SNAP benefit increase through September 30, 2021; additional funding for SNAP online purchasing and administrative support; $880 million in additional funding for WIC including four months of increased benefits; and an extension and expansion of Pandemic-EBT through this summer and beyond. 
  • $170 billion in funding to ensure schools and higher education institutions can operate safely and support students. 
  • An extension of unemployment insurance benefits. 
  • An extension of voluntary paid leave tax credits.
  • $150 million in funding for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) programs to ensure families that are pregnant or recently had children have the resources they need to promote their children’s healthy development.
  • $10 million to establish a National Technical Assistance Center on Grandfamilies and Kinship Families to provide training, technical assistance and resources for government programs, nonprofits, and other community-based organizations, Tribes, and Tribal organizations that serve grand families and kinship families. 
  • A new option for states to extend postpartum Medicaid and CHIP coverage for one year after the end of pregnancy. By ensuring states can receive federal matching funds to extend postpartum coverage beyond the current cutoff of 60 days, This includes an important milestone in maternal and infant health: giving states a Medicaid state plan option to extend postpartum (post-pregnancy) coverage from the current 60 days to one full year.
  • An increase of Medicaid FMAP from 7 percent to 10 percent for home- and community-based services (HCBS) 
Drug Policy Priorities
On April 1, 2021, President Biden and Vice President Harris released their administration's Drug Policy Priorities for the upcoming year. President Biden has made clear that addressing the overdose and addiction epidemic is an urgent priority for his administration.
Priorities include:
  • Expanding access to evidence-based treatment
  • Advancing racial equity issues in our approach to drug policy
  • Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts
  • Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use
  • Reducing the supply of illicit substances
  • Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce
  • Expanding access to recovery support services
Advocate Now!

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced a 45-day extension of the public comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to modify the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. The date for comments has been extended to May 6, 2021.

Among the proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule is facilitating greater family and caregiver involvement in the care of individuals experiencing emergencies or health crises. The OCR encourages and will carefully consider comments from all stakeholders, including patients and their families.

NFF strongly encourages you to make your voice heard around this opportunity to give feedback on changes to HIPAA to facilitate greater family involvement.
News You Can Use
New Guide Helps Consumers Fight Coverage Denials of Mental Health & Addiction Care
From the Kennedy Forum
Individuals with mental health and substance use disorders often face barriers when seeking treatment, including health insurance denials that force them to go out-of-network and/or pay high out-of-pocket costs. This guide will help walk them through the appeals process.
Special Enrollment Period Extended
for Health Insurance Marketplace
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that additional savings and lower health care costs are available for consumers on HealthCare.gov. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) has increased tax credits available to consumers, helping to reduce premiums and giving consumers access to affordable health care coverage.

Consumers who want to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for more affordable premiums can visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices and, if eligible, enroll in a plan that best meets their needs. Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325

The Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the Health Insurance Marketplace® will officially be available to consumers in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform through August 15th.

Materials you can use:
Medicaid Extension for New Moms
Adapted from Maternal Mental Health

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allows states to extend pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum.
  • States would have a new option to cover women in pregnancy-related Medicaid and CHIP coverage for one year after the end of pregnancy, extending their coverage well beyond the current cutoff of 60 days.  
  •  States that opt to extend postpartum coverage must do so for both Medicaid and CHIP (if they cover pregnant women through CHIP). The option will be available to states for seven years.
Home and Community Based Services

$400B Plan to Expand Medicaid Coverage of Home-Based Care Options
  • President Biden proposed a $400 billion plan designed to significantly bolster Medicaid coverage of long-term care outside of institutional settings. It was a campaign promise to support caregivers and expand access to home-based care. Part of the infrastructure package called “the American Jobs Plan,” the $400 billion would go toward providing wider access to home- and community-based services (HCBS).
The Home and Community-Based Services Access Act

  • On March 16, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released a draft bill, the Home and Community-Based Services Access Act, which would make home and community-based services (HCBS) a mandatory Medicaid benefit.  As a result, waiting lists would be eliminated in every state. The bill’s sponsors were seeking comments on the bill as a whole and on specific topics, including the services that should be covered, and how to address workforce shortages.  It is NFF's hope that through those comments, advocacy and education that Family Peer Specialists would be added as one of those resources.
Prevention Resource Guide
2021/2022 Prevention Resource Guide
The child abuse prevention guide seeks to highlight the innovative ways that communities around the country are doing purposeful prevention work to help children and families thrive. Focusing on protective factors helps children, youth, and families build resilience and contributes to positive outcomes.
Biden Budget Includes ‘First Step Toward Fully Funding IDEA'
Adapted from Disability Scoop

President Joe Biden is calling for the federal government to make sizable investments in special education and support other programs benefiting people with disabilities in his first budget proposal. The request features $15.5 billion for services provided to students with disabilities in pre-K through 12th grade under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a $2.6 billion boost. “This historic $2.6 billion increase would, for the first time in eight years, increase the federal share of the cost of providing services to students with disabilities, and is a significant first step toward fully funding IDEA,” according to Biden’s proposal. There is also $732 million for early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, giving the program $250 million more.
Roadmaps to Reopening Schools
The U.S. Department of Education released two roadmaps to safely reopening schools. The first volume focused on safely reopening schools while the second volume focuses on how to address special needs of students, such as school meal plans and responding to children’s mental health needs. This guidance document is intended to be a resource for states, districts, schools, and teachers as they reopen schools safely and support students.
FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Program
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. Read more here about who can apply and how to apply.
Enhancing Your Advocacy
Make Your Voices Heard:
An Introduction to Advocacy
Learn how you can advocate for policies that support families and individuals impacted by mental health and substance use.
News from the States

Education Budget

The Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget has passed in the Senate.
Despite the COVID-19 recession, the budget had a small increase of 6%. This will allow pay raises for teachers. It also will fund one-time additional 2022 teacher units and a new salary matrix for certified math and science teachers.

SB 1097 - Mental Health Days

This bill clarifies that, for students in K-12 schools, mental health days count as excused absences. Currently in statute, things like a doctor’s appointment, being sick or a death in the family are outlined as excused absences.

Now Law: HB 1570, Save Adolescents from Experimentation [SAFE] Act, sponsored by Rep. Robin Lundstrum and Sen. Alan Clark, bans gender transition treatment for minors, including hormonal treatment and therapies that are provided now in Arkansas. On Monday, Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed the bill, citing governmental overreach among his reasons. The Arkansas legislature overrode the Governor's veto. It is set to go into effect this summer, though opponents have vowed to sue to prevent that. 

SB 166 is now headed to the Governor's desk for his signature. It would allow individuals who may be connected to a child to attend dependency hearings (including delinquency, family in need of services, and dependent-neglect). 

SB 612 has been filed. It would allow children 12 or younger to testify in criminal proceedings through video conference technology in order for the child to feel comfortable. Under current law, a child could just testify outside the courtroom through close-circuit TV.

HB 1797 passed and has been sent to the Governor for his signature. It would allow the Child Welfare Agency Review Board to create and enforce rules that prohibit corporal discipline in any licensed facility.

HB 1176 passed and was sent to the Governor to be signed into law. It will allow Medicaid to pay for mental health services delivered through telemedicine through the end of 2021 or the end of the public health emergency, whichever is later.

SB 224 Mental Health Education

SB 224 is currently awaiting a final vote from the Senate Appropriations Committee. SB 224 would require that California schools ensure that all students in grades 1-12 receive age-appropriate mental health education from trained instructors at least once across their elementary, middle and high school years. Learn More.

Certification of Mental Health Peer Support Providers -Senate Bill No. 803

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that paves the way to expand the use of mental health peer providers by setting up a state certification process. California’s new law requires the state’s health department to establish requirements for the certification of peer support specialists by July of 2022.

Proposed state agency aims to solve early childhood issues

If lawmakers act on a recommendation approved by the state’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission, Colorado would acquire a state agency devoted entirely to early childhood programs.
If the bill creating a new state agency passes this spring, the commission hopes to
launch the agency by 2023 at the latest.

HB 6443

HB 6443 will support middle- and working-class families through an expansion of the state Earned Income Tax Credit and the creation of a state Child Tax Credit.

Delaware has announced that the first $700,000 in revenue from a new opioid impact fee will be spent on treatments for substance abuse disorders in 2021. Officials at the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services say the funds will help prevent overdose deaths and provide new services. They plan to increase the state's supply of medication to reverse opioid overdoses, expand clinic services to 24 hours a day, and give grants to those in treatment or recovery to be used for transportation, housing and education.

The elimination of seclusion and placing restrictions on the type and use of restraint for students with disabilities is once again moving through the process. The proposals, including SB 192 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) would also require training in positive behavior interventions and increase reporting on instances of restraint.

Juvenile Justice residential facilities face $21M cut in House budget
The cuts, outlined in the House criminal justice budget offer, include a $16.5 million reduction in non-secure residential facilities funding and a $4.8 million cut to secure residential facilities funding.

Budget Updates

Judicial Council
  • $175,000 Added for grants for legal services for domestic violence
  • $250,000 Added for grants for legal services for Kinship Care Families
Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • $7 Million Added to annualize funds for a behavioral health crisis center for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • $4.7 Million Restored for non-waiver services in family support (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • $1.5 Million Added for respite services with priority to rural communities
  • $114,039 Added to support the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline pursuant to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 (
  • $177,748 Added for suicide prevention related to the COVID-19 pandemic ($70,000) and one suicide epidemiologist ($107,748)
Dept. of Human Services
  • $4.52 Million Added for caseload growth in adoptions
  • $4.73 Million Added to support community partnerships to stem learning loss due to COVID-19 for K-12 students (Afterschool Care Program)
  • $6.7 Million Added to establish a therapeutic foster care program and leverage federal funds
  • $351,005 Added to the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund Commission
  • $65,000 Added for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) for development and start-up for underserved Echols, Henry, and Lowndes Counties

House Bill 336 passed the Idaho Legislature unanimously!
House Bill 336, will give foster youth who are close to aging out of the system the opportunity to extend care services until the day they turn 21 as long as they are employed or enrolled in college courses.


In a big step for advancing the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage across the county, HHS Secretary Beccera approved the Illinois waiver request! New mothers in Illinois will now be able to stay eligible for Medicaid and CHIP coverage for one year after delivery under a Medicaid Section 1115 waiver approved today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Learn More.


Mental Health Funding

 Senate 587, the tax bill passed by the Iowa Senate would dramatically change how the state’s mental health system is funded. The bill would shift mental health funding from county property taxes to a fully state-funded system. It would do this by phasing out the county Mental Health and Disability Services property tax levy over a two-year period and replacing it a standing state appropriation to the Department of Human Services, which would then be distributed to the state’s 14 mental health service regions on an equal per capita basis. Mental health funding: Fool me once … | Blog | Common Good Iowa

Wins for Kids from the General Assembly

  • Allowing youth age 16 and older experiencing homelessness to consent to outpatient mental health counseling (SB 21).
  • Set minimum telehealth standards, study the impact of the delivery system, and establish flexibilities that families used during the pandemic (HB 140), and ensure the equal treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorder insurance supports (HB 50).
  • Eliminating the mandatory transfer of youth ages 14 and older to adult court for situations involving a firearm.
  • Supporting the health and well-being of pregnant mothers who are incarcerated and their babies by ensuring postpartum services, access to substance use treatment and other community-based approaches and eliminating solitary confinement (SB 84).
  • Critical investments to protect children’s safety were sustained from previous years, including:
  • The Relative Support Benefit for kinship caregivers stepping up to care for children who have been removed from their home for safety reasons;
  • The HANDS home-visiting program
  • A $20 million appropriation from the General Fund to support prevention services for families, like those included in the Family First Prevention Services Act.
  • The “Do-Over” Bill - While all Kentuckians are impacted in ways large and small by the pandemic, children often felt the ill-effects of the crisis most personally -- especially missing out on in-person instruction and connection within the classroom. In response, the 2021 Kentucky General Assembly has passed and the Governor has signed into law Senate Bill 128 to provide Kentucky’s public and nonpublic K-12 students the option to complete a "do-over" of the school year. Read more about the "do-over" bill and other education bright spots for kids. 

Lowers Age of Mental Health Consent

Maryland votes to become one of five states that allows preteens to get mental health treatment without parental consent. The bill, which passed 92 to 44 and is headed to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk, lowers the age for consenting to mental health treatment from 16 years old to 12. Under the Maryland bill, anyone 12 or older who is determined by a health-care provider to be “mature and capable of giving informed consent has the same capacity as an adult to consent to consultation, diagnosis and treatment of a mental or emotional disorder.”

While states can bill Medicaid for school-based physical and behavioral health services provided to Medicaid-enrolled students, many states struggle to master the complex billing procedures required to secure Medicaid reimbursement for these critical services. Michigan established the Caring 4 Students (C4S) program, which has successfully strengthened partnerships between Medicaid, providers, and schools and streamlined its billing procedures. This case study explores how Michigan overcame billing challenges and was able to retool the C4S program during the pandemic to ensure continuation of services through telehealth. Learn more.

U.S. v State of Mississippi Update

Motions have been filed in U.S. v Mississippi Mental Health Lawsuit. For details on the motions and current status go to

Budget Update
The House and Senate agreed on the K-12 school funding bill (HB 1387). Overall K-12 funding went up by about 4%, and included pay raises for teachers and teacher assistants.
The state will receive about $6 billion from the federal American Rescue Act. While the details on how that money will be spent are being worked out, nearly $1.6 billion is earmarked to local school districts for K-12 education, and an undetermined amount will go directly to state agencies such as the Departments of Health, Mental Health and Human Services.
New Mexico


#HJR1 passed the senate and is headed to the voters for approval.  Simply, House Joint Resolution1 (HJR1) will provide a 1 per cent increase (about $180 million) to the Common School fund for programs related to early childhood education and care. The money would come from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund, which is worth about $20.8 billion.  
New York

2021-22 New York State Budget Wins

  • Transfers the entirety of $13 billion federal education funds from the recent stimulus packages directly to schools.
  • Includes $250 million to support continued implementation of the Raise the Age initiative.
  • $105 million expansion of universal pre-K statewide.
  • Maintains funding the Healthy Families Early Childhood Home Visiting program at $26.2 million.
  • Includes $2.4 billion of dollars for a rent relief program supported by federal and state aid that is crucial to maintain family housing stability.
  • Maintains $383 million for the Foster Care Block Grant.
  • Maintains $610 million for preventive, protective, independent living, adoption, and aftercare services, and continues state reimbursement at 62%.
North Carolina

Early Childhood

Congress has sent North Carolina a historic $1.3 billion to invest in early childhood & child care programs. This is a stunning opportunity – not just to rebuild the child care sector, but to ensure that thousands more of North Carolina’s toddlers are ready to succeed when they arrive in kindergarten. Make sure state legislators maximize the impact of these funds for the youngest learners!

Medicaid Announces Six Partners to Further
Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran announced six managed care plans will implement their vision for a future program that is based on addressing the needs of its more than 3 million members and thousands of providers.  The result is a comprehensive and coordinated set of services and supports focused on members, their families, and providers.
The winners of the new managed care contracts are:
  • United Healthcare Community Plan
  • Humana Health Plan of Ohio
  • Molina Healthcare of Ohio
  • AmeriHealth Caritas Ohio
  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • CareSource Ohio
In addition, the department said it is "deferring for additional consideration" a decision on Buckeye Community Health Plan. The switch to the new plans is slated for early next year. Find the full briefing document here.

Oklahoma will expand Medicaid to Oklahomans ages 19-64 whose income is at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which is roughly $17,796 for an individual or $36,588 for a family of four.
Oklahoma will open enrollment on June 1 for more low-income residents to qualify for Medicaid. Newly eligible Oklahomans can apply for health care coverage starting a month prior to when the state expands Medicaid on July 1.

HB 1692
This measure increases the maximum age of an offender to qualify for the Delayed Sentencing Program for Young Adults from 21 years of age to 25.
South Carolina

Bills to Watch

Paid Family Leave -  H.3560
Would give state employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
The plan would apply to those who give birth or adopt.

Child Abuse Response Protocol Act - H.3209
H.3209 requires multidisciplinary teams and prosecution involved in child abuse investigations to follow protocols established by the South Carolina Children's Justice Act Task Force. 
South Dakota

Bills passed before recess

  • HB 1132 Passed. Adds dental hygienists to list of mandatory reporters of child abuse.
  • SB 14 – Passed. Limits the time children are held in detention.
  • SB 34 – Passed. $75 million in funding to expand rural access to broadband. ·       

Proposal for Mental Health Trust Fund

Governor Bill Lee re-introduced the Mental Health Trust Fund in a renewed proposal to assist K-12 families who are facing significant mental health issues in the wake of COVID-19. This proposal allocates $250 million in available funds to create strong mental health services for school-aged students through a systemwide, evidence-based approach.   

Services supported by the Mental Health Trust Fund would include: 
  • Direct clinical services in schools
  • Mental health awareness and promotion
  • Suicide prevention and postvention strategies
  • Trauma-informed programs and practices
  • Violence and bullying prevention
  • Project Basic, which includes mental health supports

The Fair Start for Kids Act - SB 5096

The Fair Start for Kids Act, Senate Bill 5237 and House Bill 1213, is a multi-faceted approach to solving the child care crisis, addressing racial equity and helping the economy. The bill aims to make child care more affordable for families, stabilize and expand the diverse child care workforce, support the expansion of child care, and strengthen prevention and intervention services. Through measures such as increasing child care subsidy rates, reducing families’ copays, and offering business and mental health supports,
the Fair Start for Kids Act will aid in getting parents back to work.
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  • The General Assembly page
  • How to find your state legislator
  • Links to state legislative advocacy organizations
  • Links to live stream sessions from the state
  • Tips on how to advocate
Alerting us to what is happening on the state level will aid not only those in your state but others nationally as ideas spread. As you become aware of state or national legislative alerts, funding and advocacy opportunities or resources that could be used to build funding requests, please let us know by emailing mcovington@ffcmh.org.