Gov. Brown signs bill establishing System of Care Advisory Council

This week, Governor Kate Brown signed a bill establishing the statewide System of Care Advisory Council. The council will bring together 25 members from a variety of agencies, organizations, and backgrounds with the goal of improving care and support for vulnerable children and families in Oregon.

 

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The primary mission of the council, according to the bill, is to develop a plan for a “coordinated state system of care” that includes health systems, public health, child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and mental and behavioral health services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. 

“Oregon’s system of care has been overburdened,” said Governor Brown during the bill’s signing. “Now, by taking steps towards creating a more coordinated system, we can begin to get families the help they need sooner so they can stay together, and ensure that children and youth with specialized needs receive care in appropriate treatment settings.”

The bill was sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney and came at the request of Gov. Brown and Chief Justice Martha Walters.  

The council is charged with developing recommendations related to gaps in coverage, the implementation of behavioral health services and in-home family support services, methods for measuring the effectiveness of systems of care, and guidelines that ensure cultural competence in the provision of services.

The council will conduct studies, award grants, and develop recommendations for the legislature.

The bill also directs the council to maintain and monitor the Children’s System Data Dashboard, which will be used to track local and statewide data related to children being served by OHA, the Oregon Youth Authority, and the Department of Human Services.

The legislature invested $6.7 million into the bill to establish the council and other interdisciplinary assessment teams to serve children with specialized needs.

A press release announcing the bill’s signing also highlighted several other investments made to support children’s behavioral health services during the 2019 legislative session.

They include:

  • $6.6 million to create and expand access to intensive in-home behavioral health treatment for children
  • $3.07 million to expand crisis and transition services to additional hospitals to increase family stability over time and decrease the likelihood of emergency department visits and youth suicide
  • $3.17 million to expand access to school based mental health services in counties that currently do not have school-based health centers
  • $6.83 million for the Youth Suicide Prevention and Intervention Plan
  • $4 million to support implementation of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act for non-Medicaid in-home services
  • $3.5 million for therapeutic foster care for children with multiple, complex needs
  • $4.8 million to fund the development of Host Homes for children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, providing enhanced care for about 140 youth