Georgia: $20.6M for schools to address mental health;$6M more for kids with ASD

Jan 20, 2018, Rome (GA) News—Tribune: Georgia to focus on kids' mental health With an eye on children’s issues, Rep. Katie Dempsey plans to start hearings Monday in the House Appropriations human resources subcommittee she chairs. The Rome Republican said Gov. Nathan Deal's proposed budget contains a significant funding boost for departments that help the most vulnerable Georgia residents. She sees this year as a chance to make a difference for the future. … That's the approach pitched by Judy Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, who co-chaired the children's commission. … "Kids in crisis end up in places that are very uncomfortable for all of us," she said. The department's budget also proposes expanding the Apex Project — school-based mental health services — to another 95 schools, along with wrap-around programs. In total, there's just over $20.6 million to follow through with the commission's recommendations. "This represents a really significant advancement in children's mental health in this state," Fitzgerald said. And elsewhere in the budget is nearly $6 million more for crisis services for autistic children. Fitzgerald said providers must have specialized training and education.