Background of the North Carolina School Mental Health Initiative
Given the mental health challenges our children and youth face, a group of stakeholders representing diverse backgrounds and experiences related to the provision of mental health services to children and youth formed the North Carolina School Mental Health Initiative (NC SMHI) in August, 2015. NC SMHI is a multidisciplinary partnership consisting of public educators, community-based mental health clinicians, lawyers, NC state department officials, advocates, university faculty, and parents with the following mission:
It is the mission of this partnership to develop recommendations for policy and/or legislative changes to ensure that public school students in North Carolina have equitable access to a full continuum of high quality and well-coordinated mental health services.
PRC 29 is a special budget provision in the 1999 Appropriation Act modified the use of these state dollars to allow expenditure of these funds to provide services to "(i) children with special needs who were identified as members of the Willie M class at the time of dissolution of the class, and (ii) other children with special needs." This provision provides the flexibility to use these funds for services for other children with disabilities who have significant behavioral and emotional needs in public schools. This competitive grant should be utilized as add-on funds for staff salaries that provide direct services to students identified as PRC29.