February 2010 Policy Update
APA Secures Federal Funding for Study on Mental Health Workforce Needs
As a result of a year of strong advocacy efforts by PI-GRO, in collaboration with other professional associations, $900,000 was included in the fiscal year 2010 federal appropriations bill to fund a study by the Institute of Medicine on the geriatric mental health workforce. Specifically, this study will provide:
- Analysis of the current and projected mental and behavioral healthcare needs of Americans, particularly for aging and growing ethnic populations; and
- Policy recommendations for building a competent and well-trained mental health workforce to address these critical needs.
In the coming weeks, PI-GRO and other mental health organizations will meet with leaders from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to discuss how the study will be carried out and how APA and its members can be involved in this process.
PI-GRO Advances APA Juvenile Justice Priorities in Senate Legislation, Agency Comments
On December 17, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act (S. 678) to the full Senate for consideration. The bill includes important language sought by PI-GRO, including provisions that:
- Add the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to the Federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention;
- Add mental health experts to each State’s juvenile justice State Advisory Group; and
- Authorize a study on the prevalence of disability and various types of disabilities impacting the juvenile justice population.
PI-GRO also submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention a set of comments on their Proposed Plan for Fiscal Year 2010 and urged the office to take additional action in the areas of evidence-based practice, mental health, youth exposed to violence, school-based prevention, and the needs of LGBT youth and youth with disabilities.
APA Convenes Advocates to Discuss Media's Negative Impact on Children
PI-GRO met in early 2010 with advocates from organizations that included Girls Scouts of the USA, ChildrenNOW, Parents Television Council, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. to discuss promoting policy on youth empowerment groups, media literacy, and research on negative media and its impact on children, specifically girls. APA's Associate Executive Director for Public and Member Communications, Kim Mills, briefed the group on the media coverage of the topic of sexualization of girls, noting continued, steady growth in such coverage. In 2009, PI-GRO efforts to educate Congress on the findings of the APA Task Force Report on the Sexualization of Girls resulted in the inclusion of key provisions regarding this issue in the Ending Health Disparities for LGBT Americans Act (H.R. 3001).
Legislation on Social and Emotional Learning Introduced in House of Representatives
On December 18, 2009, the PI and Education GROs sent to Representative Dale Kildee (D-MI) a letter of support for the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2009 (H.R. 4223). This vital legislation would increase the federal investment in social and emotional learning (SEL) programs in schools by creating a national technical assistance center and grants to States and school districts. SEL curricula support student and school success by fostering students’ motivation, ability to resolve conflicts and manage complex emotions, and other vital competencies. PI-GRO continues to work with APA members and Congress to advance this important and timely legislative initiative.