Enhanced Focus on Mental Health Services for Kids

Enhanced Focus on Mental Health Services for Kids

San Bernardino

In recent weeks the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors (BOS) has approved funding to provide millions of dollars in mental health services as needed to local children.  

At its June 12 meeting, the BOS approved $105.5 million to provide comprehensive treatment services for children under five years of age.  

Last week, the BOS approved an additional $124.3 million in Comprehensive Treatment Services this time for school-aged children throughout the county. The services provided will focus on students in need of interventions for substance use disorders—including those at risk of school failure, mental health, academic, emotional, and/or other social issues including juvenile justice involvement as well as mental and emotional health concerns. 

The county’s Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) is responsible for providing mental health and substance use disorder services to county residents experiencing major mental illness, substance use disorders, and other addictions. It delivers a variety of mental health treatment services through three distinct, Comprehensive Treatment Services programs that collectively represent a large portion of the children’s continuum of mental health services. Each program is expected to collaborate cohesively with the others and  the program services are ultimately provided by contracted agencies. 

In February, DBH issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) soliciting bids for organizations to provide the services desired in this request. The agency received 16 proposals that all met the minimum qualifications and were reviewed during the evaluation process.

Based on the program, fiscal evaluations and resulting contract negotiations, the following six agencies were recommended for contract awards to provide Comprehensive Treatment Services through June 30, 2023. Included among the contracted agencies are West End Family Counseling Services, South Coast Community Services, Lutheran Social Services of Southern California, Desert/Mountain Children’s Center and the Mountain Counseling & Training. 

These programs are coordinated through the Student Assistance Program (SAP), the School-Aged Treatment Services (SATS) and Children’s Intensive Services (CIS) programs.

DBH has estimated that each year such services are provided to approximately 9,172 SAP participants at an estimated cost of $419 per participant, approximately 2,667 SATS participants at an estimated cost of $3,000 per participant, and approximately 666 CIS participants at an estimated cost of $7,000 per participant.

Department of Behavioral Health Director, Veronica Kelley, advised the board at last week’s meeting that, “The contract awards allow for the most comprehensive provision of services to the broadest number of individuals across San Bernardino County in the most effective manner.”

Kelley also assured the board that DBH will monitor contractor performance on a regular basis to ensure compliance standards are met.

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