APA Resources and Advocacy Initiatives Related to Children’s Mental Health

APA proudly supports this event, which will show how children with mental health needs thrive in their communities and how effective programs promote positive youth development. Visit SAMHSA’s website for more information about official activities related to Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2008.

In celebration of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, APA is proud to share with you some of the advocacy and programmatic activities undertaken in an effort to improve prevention, promotion, and intervention efforts on behalf of children’s mental health. Below you will find resources related to important pending federal reauthorizations in which APA is taking an active role, along with many valuable materials for professionals, parents, teachers, caregivers and the public.

Legislative Initiatives

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)

CAPTA is the key federal legislation addressing child abuse and neglect. PI-GRO staff has been working closely with APA members to develop recommendations for the upcoming reauthorization of this important law. In addition, PI-GRO staff continues to advocate, as a member of the National Child Abuse Coalition, on behalf of full funding for CAPTA programs: Title I — basic state grants ($84 million); Title II — community-based prevention grants ($80 million); and discretionary and research activities ($37 million). For more information about the psychological impact of child abuse and on the status of CAPTA, please view PI-GRO’s CAPTA Fact Sheet (PDF, 121KB).

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

Chairmen Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and George Miller (D-CA), of the Senate Health, Education, Labor,and Pensions and House Education and Labor Committees, respectively, continue to push for the reauthorization of NCLB, which was extended in current form after the law expired last September. Proposals impacting teacher incentive pay and academic assessment have been contentious during the reauthorization process and continue to be negotiated. Discussion drafts of the legislation released last year by Education and Labor Committee included many of APA’s recommendations for this reauthorization, including: language to allow for anti-bullying programs under Safe and Drug Free Schools; improvements to parental involvement provisions; and allowing states to use growth models to track student progress. PI-GRO will continue to monitor NCLB’s progress and advocate for the adoption of APA’s priorities within this reauthorization. For further background, please visit the APA Monitor on Psychology®.

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)

Enacted in 1974, JJDPA serves as the nation’s most important law pertaining to the treatment of juvenile offenders and the prevention of delinquency among at-risk youth. In anticipation of JJDPA’s reauthorization, PI-GRO worked with APA members and the APA Science Directorate to develop a set of priorities to improve this crucial legislation, which were distributed to key congressional offices in mid-March. PI-GRO staff will continue to advocate for their adoption during the reauthorization process. For more information on the specific recommendations regarding this critical reauthorization, please view APA’s letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Education and Labor and Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Services Administration (SAMHSA)

PI-GRO has been working closely with APA’s Education Directorate to advance APA priorities for the upcoming reauthorization of SAMHSA, with a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention programs. In addition, PI-GRO is advocating for the inclusion within SAMHSA reauthorization of principles from three stand alone bills related to children’s mental health that long have been priorities for PI-GRO, including:

  • The Keeping Families Together Act, which provides state grants to end the tragic practice of parents relinquishing control of their children to the child welfare of juvenile justice system in order to obtain mental health services for their child;

  • The Mental Health in Schools Act (PDF, 110KB), which would provide grants for local school-based partnerships that use a public health perspective in addressing students’ mental health needs and to provide relevant training for all school personnel, volunteers and ancillary staff; and

  • The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Resiliency Act (PDF, 110KB), which directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide for comprehensive state mental health plans for children and adolescents through the Center for Mental Health Services.

Task Force Reports