Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.
By Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation
We have a deal! After years of advocacy and back and forth agreements, the Governor and Raleigh Mayor signed a deal for the Dorothea Dix Hospital land. The deal is for $52 million and the city will turn the land into a park. We have advocated that the money from the sale go directly to mental health services and the Governor and House of Representatives have expressed this sentiment in their budgets.
After a slow committee week, Senators picked up the pace with a few bills going through committees and the floor that will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law. On Thursday, we saw glimpses of the House budget as they were outlined in Appropriation Committees. This week, the full budget will be available online and the full committee will take amendments and vote on the budget. Once this has been done, the full House will vote on the budget on the floor before being sent to the Senate. In the coming weeks, the Senate will propose a budget. A committee comprised of House and Senate members will be appointed to create one final state budget.
Bills with interest:
House Budget Highlights: Overall, the House budget looks pretty positive for mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorder services. There are still a few lingering budget items that have not been addressed including funding for group homes, state employee pay raises, and specifics on what the Dix money will be spent on. Below are highlights from the Health and Human Services, Education, and Justice and Public Safety Budgets.
In the Health and Human Services Budget:
In funding items with the page numbers beginning with G, click here to see the report.
In funding items with the page numbers not beginning with G, click here to see the report.
– A Justification Review is put into place for programs preventing infant mortality to fund the best evidenced based programs. Funding is provided for the programs while the review takes place. Programs include: Maternal and Child Health Contracts – $2,847,094, Healthy Beginnings (2 contracts) – $396,025, Pregnancy Care Case Management – $300,901, Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting – $425,643, NC Perinatal and Maternal Substance Abuse Initiative – $2,729,316, Perinatal Substance Abuse Specialist – $45,000, Residential Maternity Homes – $ 375,000. Page G-2
– Provides grant funds of $20 million for hospice residential care facilities and requires a match for the grant. Page G-3
– Restores funding to Home and Community Care Block Grant by 2%. $969,549 will be restored in fiscal year 2015-2016 and the same amount will be restored in fiscal year 2016-2017. Page G-4
– Increases funding for foster care to support growth in caseloads. Page G-7
– Provides $400,000 for Child Care Advocacy Centers. Page G-7
– Provides funding to open the new Broughton Hospital. Page G-10
– Increases 3-way psychiatric beds from 165 to 180 beds (this is less than funded in the Governor’s budget). Page G-10
– Provides $2.3 million in fiscal year 2015-2016 and in fiscal year 2016-2017 to expand NC START teams by adding a fourth team and including children and adolescents with I/DD. Page G-10
– Provides $1.86 million in fiscal year 2015-2016 and fiscal year 2016-2017 to increase funds for TASC. Page G-11
– Provides $2 million to establish behavioral health urgent care centers and facility-based crisis centers around the state. Page G-11
– Provides funds to plan and reform Medicaid. Page G-14
– Restores change made to Child Care Subsidies last year that would include a nonparent relative. This is reversed in the budget on page 18.
– Commits to improving outcomes for youth ages 17-21 years who transition from foster care. Page 35
– Funds the NC Child Treatment Program to continue to provide clinical training to licensed Medicaid providers and to partner to bring effective mental health treatment to children in juvenile justice and mental health facilities. Page 51
– Puts money from the Dorothea Dix Hospital deal into the Mental Health Trust fund. Up to $25 million of these funds can be used for rural hospitals to convert acute care beds to licensed, short term inpatient beds. Page 56
– Creates a Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid. Page 80
– With the DHHS Block grants, funding for child welfare workers is provided and funding for the Child Welfare Collaborative is $632,416 in fiscal years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Funding is provided for teen pregnancy prevention initiatives. Funding is provided for Critical Time Intervention. Grants start on page 84.
In the Education Budget:
In funding items with the page number beginning with F, click here to see the report.
In funding items with the page number not beginning with F, click here to see the report.
– Provides funds for local school administrative units, regional schools, and charter schools to hire additional school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers. Page F-2
– Provides funding for after school quality improvement grants. Page 50
In the Justice and Public Safety Budget:
In funding items with the page number beginning with I, click here to see the report.
In funding items with the page number not beginning with I, click here to see the report.
– Provides funding for 66 positions to open 72 additional beds at Central Prison. Page I-4
– Provides funding to establish mental health behavioral health treatment units at eight close custody prisons. 4 units are funded in fiscal year 2015-2016 and four are funded in 2016-2017. Page I-4
NASW-NC works on behalf of the social work profession on a variety of issues. It is a member benefit provided by NASW-NC to have a registered lobbyist advancing and supporting the profession of social work in North Carolina. The North Carolina Chapter works with National NASW on Federal issues such as reimbursement rates, immigration, student loans, and more. Your membership dues help support our advocacy efforts everyday on the state and federal levels. Thank YOU for being a member and staying engaged in supporting the social work profession.
We need you. If you are a social worker and not a member of your professional association we ask that you to join to support the advocacy efforts on behalf of your profession. Click here to join today!