Senator Fields, bill sponsor, presented Senate Bill 19-010. The bill modifies the Behavioral Health Care Professional Matching Grant Program, also known as the School Health Professionals Grant program, to allow grant funding to be used for behavioral health care services, including screenings, counseling, therapy, referrals to community organizations, and training for students and staff on behavioral health issues. Behavioral health care services include services to prevent, identify, and treat substance use disorders, substance misuse, and mental health disorders.
In addition, the bill:
- increases the amount of the appropriation that the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) may use for administration from 3 percent to 5 percent;
- allows grant recipients to use the funding to contract with a community partner for behavioral health care services, or to provide direct services by a school health professional through telehealth technology;
- requires that grant applicants include certain information in their applications, including data demonstrating the need for a school health professional, the extent to which the education provider has experienced certain factors that impact student wellbeing, and the extent to which the applicant prioritizes staff training related to behavioral health supports; and
- includes licensed mental health professionals in the definition of school health professional.