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October 31, 2010
At midday October 29, The California Department of Education (CDE) announced it would provide $76 million in federal Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) funds to continue critical mental health services for special education students throughout the state. By the end of the day, there was agreement to restart those services in Los Angeles County shortly. Read the Stipulation to the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) here. This was a rapid response to the lawsuit filed on October 21 charging that the suspension of those (AB3632) services had created chaos among students with psychiatric disabilities, their families and their care providers. The suit stated that “care and treatment has been disrupted, delayed and denied” by the Governor’s October 8 veto suspending the services. Link to press release announcing case.
As a result of the Stipulated TRO, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health will continue to provide and monitor educationally related mental health services, conduct assessments and attend IEP meetings provided that it receives the IDEA funds to do so. The Los Angeles County Office of Education has agreed to distribute the IDEA funds in the same manner before it did before the Governor’s veto. Candis Bowles, Disability Rights California Associate Managing Attorney said, “This restores critical school- based mental health services in Los Angeles county and ensures continuity of care for vulnerable children. We hope that county departments of mental health and school district’s state wide will take similar action to restore services until there is a legislative solution.
The CDE agreed to release federal funds (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act -IDEA) to the local education agencies to maintain these essential services for students. Read CDE press release here.
Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg commented that “These funds will provide only temporary stability…and restoring full support to this program will be an immediate priority in January when we have a different administration.”