Assembly Bill (AB) 114 changed the process by which students in Special Education receive mental health services. Previously, under AB 3632, county mental health departments provided services. However, realignment under AB 114 requires all California school districts to be solely responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities, as designated by their Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), receive the mental health services necessary to benefit from a special education program.
Students with IEPs who demonstrate behavioral health issues that impact their ability to learn and access the school curriculum are eligible for AB 114. ERMHS funds are not restricted to students who have “emotional disturbance” as their identified disability.
Services must be included in the IEP and can include: individual counseling, parent counseling, social work services, psychological services, and residential treatment. Any service agreed upon by the student’s IEP team as necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate public education may be considered a related service and covered by AB 114 funds.
There are three primary ways districts are meeting the AB 114 requirement:
- School districts hire mental health professionals (i.e., credentialed and/or licensed social workers, psychologists) and provide services through these staff.
- School districts contract with community mental health agencies or other qualified professionals to provide services.
- School districts contract with county mental health departments to provide services.
Funding is distributed from the California Department of Education directly to Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs) based on the average daily attendance of all pupils in the SELPA (regardless of how many pupils have an IEP or disability). SELPAs then determine how to allocate dollars to the individual districts and schools.
Assembly Bill 114 Special Education Transition: Click to learn more.
SMCOE ERMHS Guidelines