2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XLVIII EARLY LEARNING-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1006 SUPPORT FOR LEARNING
SECTION 041Mental health assistance program.
1006.041 Mental health assistance program.—Each school district must implement a school-based mental health assistance program that includes training classroom teachers and other school staff in detecting and responding to mental health issues and connecting children, youth, and families who may experience behavioral health issues with appropriate services.
(1) Each school district must develop, and submit to the district school board for approval, a detailed plan outlining the components and planned expenditures of the district’s mental health assistance program. The plan must include all district schools, including charter schools, unless a charter school elects to submit a plan independently from the school district. A charter school plan must comply with all of the provisions of this section and must be approved by the charter school’s governing body and provided to the charter school’s sponsor.
(2) A plan required under subsection (1) must be focused on a multitiered system of supports to deliver evidence-based mental health care assessment, diagnosis, intervention, treatment, and recovery services to students with one or more mental health or co-occurring substance abuse diagnoses and to students at high risk of such diagnoses. The provision of these services must be coordinated with a student’s primary mental health care provider and with other mental health providers involved in the student’s care. At a minimum, the plan must include all of the following components:
(a) Direct employment of school-based mental health services providers to expand and enhance school-based student services and to reduce the ratio of students to staff in order to better align with nationally recommended ratio models. The providers shall include, but are not limited to, certified school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, and other licensed mental health professionals. The plan must also identify strategies to increase the amount of time that school-based student services personnel spend providing direct services to students, which may include the review and revision of district staffing resource allocations based on school or student mental health assistance needs.
(b) Contracts or interagency agreements with one or more local community behavioral health providers or providers of Community Action Team services to provide a behavioral health staff presence and services at district schools. Services may include, but are not limited to, mental health screenings and assessments, individual counseling, family counseling, group counseling, psychiatric or psychological services, trauma-informed care, mobile crisis services, and behavior modification. These behavioral health services may be provided on or off the school campus and may be supplemented by telehealth as defined in s. 456.47(1).
(c) Policies and procedures, including contracts with service providers, which will ensure that:
1. Students referred to a school-based or community-based mental health service provider for mental health screening for the identification of mental health concerns and students at risk for mental health disorders are assessed within 15 days after referral. School-based mental health services must be initiated within 15 days after identification and assessment, and support by community-based mental health service providers for students who are referred for community-based mental health services must be initiated within 30 days after the school or district makes a referral.
2. Parents of a student receiving services under this subsection are provided information about other behavioral health services available through the student’s school or local community-based behavioral health services providers. A school may meet this requirement by providing information about and Internet addresses for web-based directories or guides for local behavioral health services.
3. Individuals living in a household with a student receiving services under this subsection are provided information about behavioral health services available through other delivery systems or payors for which such individuals may qualify, if such services appear to be needed or enhancements in such individuals’ behavioral health would contribute to the improved well-being of the student.
(d) Strategies or programs to reduce the likelihood of at-risk students developing social, emotional, or behavioral health problems; depression; anxiety disorders; suicidal tendencies; or substance use disorders.
(e) Strategies to improve the early identification of social, emotional, or behavioral problems or substance use disorders; to improve the provision of early intervention services; and to assist students in dealing with trauma and violence.
(f) Procedures to assist a mental health services provider or a behavioral health provider as described in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b), respectively, or a school resource officer or school safety officer who has completed mental health crisis intervention training in attempting to verbally de-escalate a student’s crisis situation before initiating an involuntary examination pursuant to s. 394.463. Such procedures must include strategies to de-escalate a crisis situation for a student with a developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063.
(g) Policies of the school district which must require that in a student crisis situation, school or law enforcement personnel must make a reasonable attempt to contact a mental health professional who may initiate an involuntary examination pursuant to s. 394.463, unless the child poses an imminent danger to themselves or others, before initiating an involuntary examination pursuant to s. 394.463. Such contact may be in person or through telehealth. The mental health professional may be available to the school district either by a contract or interagency agreement with the managing entity, one or more local community-based behavioral health providers, or the local mobile response team, or be a direct or contracted school district employee.
(3) Each school district shall submit its approved plan, including approved plans of each charter school in the district, to the Department of Education by August 1 of each fiscal year.
(4) Annually by September 30, each school district shall submit to the Department of Education a report on its program outcomes and expenditures for the previous fiscal year that, at a minimum, must include the total number of each of the following:
(a) Students who receive screenings or assessments.
(b) Students who are referred to school-based or community-based providers for services or assistance.
(c) Students who receive school-based or community-based interventions, services, or assistance.
(d) School-based and community-based mental health providers, including licensure type.
(e) Contract-based or interagency agreement-based collaborative efforts or partnerships with community-based mental health programs, agencies, or providers.
History.—s. 28, ch. 2023-245.