Legislation seeks to address children’s behavioral health needs in schools

Behavioral health in schools
Behavioral health in schools(WFIE)
Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 3:16 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - U.S. Senators John Thune and Bob Menendez, who are members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care policy, are pushing legislation that would encourage states to hone in on their health services that address behavioral health in schools.

Thune says school administrators, parents and teachers across South Dakota are asking for behavioral health services “more than ever.” He says this bill moves to impel states to utilize more health services that exist through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but are not currently being used to their highest capacity. Thune goes on to say that the bill highlights flexibility, which he hopes will empower states to “find creative solutions to get students the support they need.”

Menendez says he’s happy to be on board with Thune “improving behavioral health services for kids.” He says the bipartisan effort would enhance a state’s financial capability to address behavioral health, “especially those who live in low-income communities.”

CHIP allows states to use health service initiatives through a portion of their administrative funds, where they may choose multiple initiatives to enlist. If a behavioral health oriented initiative is chosen, this bill would provide funding flexibility.

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