Forum: Learning Disabilities and Special Education
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I am a special education advocate in Southern California. I have written a sample letter, and am encouraging affected parties to send it, or their own letters, to three specific legislators before the end of this year. Please feel free to cross post. Thank you!
*Areas for personalization are highlighted. If you have questions regarding the text of this sample letter or the current situation regarding AB 3632 services, you may contact Gwen Campbell, Special Education Advocate, at 818-706-8801 or via e-mail.
Legislator contact information:
Dear Governor Brown
Governor Jerry Brown
Sacramento, CA 95814
State Assembly Speaker
Dear Representative Perez
The Honorable John Perez
Sacramento, CA 95814
State Senate President Pro Tempore
Dear Senator Steinberg
The Honorable Darrell Steinberg
Sacramento, CA 95814
<INSERT NAME OF LEGISLATOR>
<INSERT MAILING ADDRESS OF LEGISLATOR>
Re: Immediate Restoration of Funding for AB 3632 Services
Dear <INSERT APPROPRIATE GREETING>:
On behalf of my child, <CHILD’S NAME>, I am writing to let you know the impact of former Governor Schwarzenegger’s actions in regards to mental health services for students receiving special education services. The governor line-item vetoed $133 million that was in the FY 2010-11 Budget to reimburse county mental health for back claims owed to them for providing mental health (AB 3632) services to eligible special education students. He also purported to suspend the AB 3632 mandate to counties to provide these services in future years. No transition time was built into the process – the governor simply cut off mental health services! Complete disarray, chaos, and gaps in services are occurring as school districts and counties scramble to figure out who will provide services and who will pay for them. The funding needs to be restored immediately.
My child is currently receiving AB 3632 mental health services. Specifically my child receives the following service:[list services receiving, such as receiving case management, counseling, medication management, his/her education in a residential treatment setting]. These services are critical for my child so he/she can benefit from his/her education, graduate from school and ultimately lead a full and productive life. [DESCRIBE why so important, what risks or harms to the child or to your family will result without the services]
In 1986, the California Legislature decided to use county mental health to provide mental health services to children who need them pursuant to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). They did this to maximize the unique expertise offered by county mental health and to better coordinate public resources to support students with disabilities receiving special education services. Under AB 3632, county mental health is responsible for providing services such as case management, counseling, medication management, residential placement and sometimes out-of-state residential placement.
The abruptness of former Governor Schwarzenegger’s line-item veto is causing tremendous chaos, not only in schools but for my child, me, my family, and thousands of other families and their children that have or are in the need of AB 3632 mental health services. [Describe the chaos for you and your child, such as services stopped or suspended, no IEP, no assessment, threat of services stopping during the holidays.]
I have been told that, since the AB 3632 mandate came to a sudden halt, despite the fact that the State Department of Education released some funds to pay counties to provide services, some counties are still unwilling to assess children to see if they need mental health services, attend IEP meetings, or recommend and provide services. In addition, I have been told that a number of county mental health departments have announced that they will cease all mental health services for children on December 31, 2010 – right before the new year. School districts are not prepared to become mental health service providers for their students.
I believe that it would be a foolish decision for California not to adequately fund and restore AB 3632. Without these services the state will pay for more costly services such as hospitalization and placement in the juvenile justice system. In addition, I understand that California is likely to lose additional federal dollars for special education and from Medi-Cal.
California can’t delay - restoring and fully funding AB 3632 services makes sense because county mental health is best qualified to provide such critical services to school-aged students with disabilities.
I urge you to act now to prevent further chaos and potential harm to my child and others! Thank you.