In Sub. for SB 423 and House Sub. for SB 61, the 2018 Legislature created the Mental Health Intervention Team Pilot Program (Program) for fiscal year (FY) 2019 “to improve social-emotional wellness and outcomes for students by increasing schools’ access to counselors, social workers and psychologists statewide” (2018 Sub. for SB 423, Sec. 1(a)). The legislation required school districts and community mental health centers (CMHCs) to enter into partnerships through memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to implement the Program. Additionally, the legislation required mental health intervention teams to consist of school liaisons employed by the participating school districts, in addition to clinical therapists and case managers employed by the participating CMHCs. The legislation specified nine school districts that would participate in the Program.
The Legislature appropriated $10.0 million from the State General Fund (SGF) to the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to fund the Program. The appropriations included $4.2 million to cover treatment costs for participating students. This included $2.6 million in match for Medicaid costs and $1.5 million for CMHCs. In addition, the appropriations included $3.3 million to cover the costs associated with the school liaisons hired by participating school districts. Finally, $2.5 million was included to create an online database to be used for the Program.
In House Sub. for SB 25, the 2019 Legislature reauthorized the Program for FY 2020. The Legislature appropriated $8.0 million from the SGF. The Legislature also made several adjustments to the Program, reappropriating unused funds for the pilot program from FY 2019 to FY 2020, requiring a 25.0 percent local match for the school liaisons hired by participating school districts, and providing the State Board of Education (State Board) with the authority to expand the Program to additional school districts for FY 2020.
Scope of Program
As implemented by KSDE, the Program focuses on providing care to two groups of students.
The “alpha group” consists of youth who are Children in Need of Care (CINC) and are in state custody. These students have experienced multiple placements and moved school districts multiple times throughout the school year.
The “beta group” consists of all other youth (non -CINC) who are in need of mental health support services.
Duties of Intervention Team Members
The duties of school liaisons employed by participating school districts include, but are not limited to:
- Identifying appropriate referrals;
- Acting as a liaison between the school district and the CMHC;
- Helping the CMHC prioritize interventions for identified students;
- Facilitating connections between identified students’ families and the CMHC staff;
- Communicating with child welfare contacts to get the educational history of a student who has moved schools; and
- Gathering outcomes to monitor the effectiveness of the program.
The duties of clinical therapists employed by participating CMHCs include, but are not limited to:
- Helping the school liaison identify appropriate referrals and prioritize interventions for identified students;
- Conducting a clinical assessment of the identified student and making appropriate treatment recommendations;
- Providing individual and family therapy;
- Communicating with school personnel to help them understand a student’s diagnosis, family circumstance, and suggested interventions; and
- Gathering outcome data to monitor the effectiveness of the Program.
The duties of case managers employed by participating CMHCs include, but are not limited to:
- Working with the school liaison and clinical therapist to identify and prioritize students for treatment interventions;
- Providing outreach to students, families, and child welfare contacts to help engage in treatment;
- Helping maintain communication between all entities involved, including family, student, school, clinician, child welfare, and community;
- Making referrals to appropriate community resources; and
- Helping to reconnect students and families when they are not following through with the treatment process.
Memorandums of Understanding
Participating school districts are required to enter into two MOUs for the Program.
The first MOU is with KSDE; it outlines the basic requirements of the Program and specifies how funding received for the Program is to be spent. The second MOU is between the school district and its partner CMHC. This MOU outlines how the school district and CMHC will cooperate in the implementation of the Program. (KSDE produced and distributed a standard memorandum for this agreement, but did not require school districts to use it.)
Additionally, KSDE has entered into a MOU with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to cover the distribution of the funding for Medicaid-related costs. During FY 2019, the Medicaid funding for the program was distributed to the participating school districts. The school districts then made payments to KDHE. For FY 2020, however, KSDE paid KDHE directly for Medicaid-related costs.
Breakdown of Funding
Total funding for the Program for FY 2020 was $9.3 million. This included the $8.0 million appropriated by the 2019 Legislature and $1.3 million reappropriated from FY 2019 to FY 2020.
Most of the funding for the Program flowed through the participating school districts. The following is a description of the two different grants to school districts and the payments made to KDHE.
School Liaison Grant. This grant is distributed to school districts on a monthly basis. School districts submit requests each month to cover anticipated expenditures. Allowable expenditures for this grant include salary, fringe benefits, travel expenses, and a computer that must be used exclusively by the school liaison. Beginning in FY 2020, participating school districts must cover 25.0 percent of the cost of the liaisons. School liaison grant funding for FY 2020 was $4.0 million, compared to $3.3 million in FY 2019.
CMHC Grant. This grant is distributed quarterly to school districts. School districts must forward all payments to the participating CMHC to cover the cost for treatment and services for students who are uninsured or underinsured.
Grant funding for FY 2020 was $2.1 million, compared to $1.5 million in FY 2019.
KDHE Payments. As mentioned above, KSDE will make payments directly to KDHE to cover Medicaid costs related to the Program. KDHE payments for FY 2020 were $2.6 million, which is the same as in FY 2019.
KSDE requires participating school districts to submit, in conjunction with their partner CMHC, two reports during the fiscal year. A report covering the first half of the school year was due December 20, 2019. The second report covering the entire year was due June 30, 2020.
These reports track the number of students served and various academic performance measures, including attendance, behavior, and graduation. In FY 2020, 3,266 total students received services from CMHCs through the program, including 343 students in foster care.
Additionally, the year-end report includes a financial report on program expenditures for the fiscal year. In the 2018-19 school year, state expenditures totaled $7.3 million, including $2.9 million for school district liaisons and $1.5 million for CMHCs. In the 2019-20 school year, state expenditures totaled $9.0 million, including $4.0 million for school district liaisons and $2.1 million for CMHCs.
Participating School Districts
During the first year of the Program, there were a total of 9 participating school districts, serving 82 schools.
Using the authority provided in 2019 House Sub. for SB 25, the State Board expanded the Program for FY 2020. The Program served students in 180 schools in 32 school districts during the 2019-2020 school year.
According to information provided by KSDE, the Program will serve 232 schools in 56 school districts during the 2020-21 school year.
The tables on the following pages include a list of all school districts participating in the Program during the 2021-21 school year, along with the total state aid requested for each school district.
Mental Health Intervention Team Program
|USD||District||County||Total Budget Request – School Liasons||State Aid Request – School Liasons||State Aid Recommended for School Districts||State Aid Request – Mental Health Provider||Total State Aid Request|
|239||North Ottawa Co.||Ottawa||59,680||44,760||44,760||14,920||59,680|
|306||Southeast of Saline||Saline||56,998||42,748||42,748||14,249||56,997|
|462||Central of Burden*||Cowley||48,591||36,443||36,443||12,148||48,591|
|Total Aid Requested Statewide||$5,071,456||$2,519,010||$7,590,466|
Mental Health Intervention Team Program
|M.D. No.||Membership District (M.D.)||County||S.D. No.||Sponsoring District (S.D.)||County|
|240||Twin Valley||Ottawa||239||N. Ottawa Co. (240)||Ottawa|
|291||Grinnell Public Schools||Gove||293||Quinter (291, 292, 274, 275, 468)||Gove|
|292||Wheatland||Gove||293||Quinter (291, 292, 274, 275, 468)||Gove|
|274||Oakley||Logan||293||Quinter (291, 292, 274, 275, 468)||Gove|
|275||Triplains||Logan||293||Quinter (291, 292, 274, 275, 468)||Gove|
|468||Healy Public Schools||Lane||293||Quinter (291, 292, 274, 275, 468)||Gove|
|312||Haven Public Schools||Reno||311||Pretty Prairie (312)||Reno|
|393||Solomon||Dickinson||435||Abilene (393, 473, 487)||Dickinson|
|473||Chapman||Dickinson||435||Abilene (393, 473, 487)||Dickinson|
|487||Herington||Dickinson||435||Abilene (393, 473, 487)||Dickinson|
USD 311 includes USD 311 (Pretty Prairie) and USD 312 (Haven)
USD 435 includes USD 435 (Abilene), USD 393 (Solomon), USD 473 (Chapman), and USD 487 (Herington)
Per KSDE, multiple smaller school districts may join together in a consortium to file one application. In this situation, one district serves as the sponsoring district for reporting and financial purposes. The sponsoring district receives all payments from KSDE and files all reports. The other districts are member districts that file reports and receive funding through the sponsoring district.
Jessa Farmer, Research Analyst
Marisa Bayless, Research Analyst