Thursday, August 18, 2022

Texas to spend more than $100 million on school safety, mental health

The Texas Child Mental Health Consortium, established by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, will receive additional resources under a newly announced plan to address school safety and mental health in Texas.

Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan, Senate Finance Committee Chair Joan Huffman, and House Appropriations Chair Dr. Greg Bonnen on Tuesday announced the transfer of $105.5 million to support additional school safety and mental health initiatives through August 31, 2023. A majority of the money is coming out of a budget surplus inside the Texas Education Agency, which oversees public K-12 education.

“This additional funding will boost actions the State of Texas has already taken to make schools safer and support the mental health of children, teachers, and families following the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde,” stated a press release from Nelson’s office.

“I applaud the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, House Speaker and budget leaders for taking this important step to protect students and enhance access to mental health services,” Senator Nelson said. “This funding will allow us to expand our effort to identify students at risk of becoming a danger and direct them into mental health treatment.”

Specifically, the funding will provide:

  • $50 million for bullet-resistant shields;
  • $5.8 million to expand the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) statewide;
  • $4.7 million to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to increase Multisystemic Therapy (MST) across the state;
  • $950,000 to HHSC to expand Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) teams across the state;
  • $7 million for rapid response training by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center and $3 million for local law enforcement agencies to offset travel expenditures associated with the training;
  • $7 million to the Texas School Safety Center for on-site campus assessments to evaluate access control measures;
  • $17.1 million for school districts to purchase silent panic alert technology; and
  • $5 million to the Texas Department of Public Safety to expand fusion center research and capabilities.

State leadership also approved up to $5 million to be used by the Hill Country Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) Center to assist in evaluating mental health services in the Uvalde community and preparing a needs assessment for the legislature.

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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