Statement of the Issue
On August 8, 2003 the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Act (ICMHA) became law (LuAllen, Koch, Taylor, Payton, Weissberg & O’Brien, 2005). A report by the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Task Force (2003) states the current system, prior to passage of the ICMH, is “fragmented, limited in scope, and poorly resourced”. The Illinois General Assembly is attempting to address these issues with the passage of this act. This law promotes the development and the implementation of a coordinated mental health programs specifically aimed at children from birth to their 18th birthday. The coordination of services is addressed in section 5-1 of the ICMHA which states, “…the mental health plan shall contain short-term and long-term recommendations to provide comprehensive, coordinated service…” The programs are to consist of public and private agencies forming a referral network to serve the children in rural and urban settings of Illinois. LuAllen, et al, (2005), state that the greatest impact on service delivery will be made by utilizing both public and private agencies. This mental health system is to make early intervention, preventative measures, and treatment programs available for all children, birth thru 18 years of age, regardless of their socio-economic situation. The intervention and preventative aspects are to be both long and short term. ICMHA makes recommendations as to how to fund the programs by the use of federal, state, and local government sources (Pub. L. No. 93-0495).
Section 15 of the ICMHA addresses how the social and emotional needs of school children, K thru 12, will be met by the school districts. Section 15 mandates that individual school districts develop and implement policies to address the mental health needs of its children. These policies developed by the school districts are to be made an integral part of their educational programs. Specifically the act states;... [continues]
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