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For Safety Funding, Bill Would Require Schools To Partner With Mental Health Provider

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A bill up for passage in the Senate this week would require schools, beginning in 2021, to have a relationship with a mental health care provider before getting school safety dollars.

The measure is one of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda items.

State Health Commissioner Kris Box says 75 percent of schools already have the required connection with a mental health care provider. And she says the new policy would be flexible in how it defines those relationships, particularly for underserved areas.

“These relationships can take many forms, from telehealth to an embedded, school-based provider,” Box says.

Religious conservative groups are wary of linking schools and mental health care services. American Family Association of Indiana executive director Micah Clark says parents need a voice.

“I just want parents to be as involved as possible, as much as possible, in order to have the best success,” Clark says.

The bill doesn’t affect parental involvement – it simply means schools would be able to point parents towards a mental health care resource.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.