FTNYS Priorities in the FY 2022 NYS Enacted Budget.
This has been a whirlwind of a budget season unlike any other. Due to COVID-19, the year began with the threat of looming 20% across the board cuts to state funding without federal relief or new tax revenue to close the budget gaps caused by the resulting economic recession. Thanks to unprecedented levels of federal aid distributed to our state as well as increased tax revenue, we are proud to report that the worst possible outcome was avoided. In fact, proposed cuts to behavioral health services, developmental disabilities education, juvenile justice, and child welfare were mostly restored with few exceptions. FTNYS and our state and national partners fought tooth-and-nail to achieve this outcome. We want to thank our network for fighting alongside us. We should all indulge in this well-deserved moment of celebration. Even so, we must recognize that simply maintaining funding at pre-pandemic funding levels isn’t enough when those levels are historically insufficient. Our children and families need and deserve better. So stay tuned for the fight ahead!
Children’s Behavioral Health:
- Restoration of the 5% cut to mental health programs given the influx of federal funds.
- 1% Across the Board Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Mental Health, OASAS and OPWDD, which is the first COLA in over ten years
- Authorization for OMH and OASAS to jointly license crisis stabilization/urge care centers. Crisis stabilization centers would serve as emergency service provider for individuals with psychiatric or substance use disorder who are in need of “crisis stabilization services.”
- Merger of OMH and OASAS, though its likely to be considered post-budget.
- Reinvestment of 200 state psychiatric bed closure savings into behavioral health community-based organizations is postponed for 1 year.
- Closure of Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center
- Expansion of Children and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS) into Child Health Plus (CHP) (A303A/ S2539).
- Telehealth reforms to include all peers, but stops short of ensuring telehealth rate parity between audio, audio- video, and in-person.
- While the legislature did not line out specific investments of new federal funding into behavioral health programs serving children and families, language was included that required OMH to report annually to the Chairs of Mental Health in each house regarding the disbursements. Additionally, the agency will engage stakeholders on how the funding should be spent.
- Restoration of the 5% cuts to prevention, foster care, kinship, and adoption funding streams.
- Aid to Localities provides for $75 million for services and expense related to implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act.
- Family First Transition Fund ($3M) to provide post-adoption services, post-guardianship services, and services to support and sustain positive permanent outcomes for children.
- Authorization for youth who would have otherwise aged out to remain in foster care until October 1, 2021.
- Funding for Foster Youth Success Initiative to support transition youth in foster care succeed in college.
- Directive for local social services districts to establish “differential response programs,” also known as Family Assessment Response (FAR), as an alternative to child protective services for select allegations of maltreatment.
- The proposed Foster Care Ombudsman for birth parents, foster parents, kin, and children in care.
Juvenile Justice/Public Safety
- $250 million to support continued implementation of raise the age
- Restoration of the Supervision and Treatment Services for Juveniles Program (STSJP) that funds alternatives to detention.
- Implementation of Governor Cuomo’s police collaborative reform. The enacted budget authorizes the withholding of 50% of state and federal funds from jurisdictions that do not submit a plan and would authorize the installation of a monitor by NYS Attorney General. 450 of the 497 jurisdictions have submitted plans.
- Only 2 of the 4 proposed juvenile justice facility closures were approved and do not require reinvestment of savings.