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News & Press: Updates for Members

ACTION ALERT and House Budget Passes

Friday, May 10, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Action Alert: House Bill 70: Delay NC HealthConnex for Certain Providers

Before we dive into updates from the past two weeks, we need your help! Please contact your North Carolina Senator and urge them to take up House Bill 70! The deadline for providers to be connected to the state’s Health Information Exchange Authority is June 1, 2019 so this legislation is timely to give providers a much needed delay. Use this link to contact your Senator!


House Budget Details and Crossover

The past two weeks have been busy at the North Carolina General Assembly which has delayed our weekly updates! Legislators have been scrambling to pass various pieces of legislation in order to make crossover. Crossover is a self-imposed deadline that legislators set at the beginning of the session. Bills must pass either the House or the Senate in order to be considered for the rest of the legislative session (including the short session in even numbered years!). NASW-NC is thrilled to report that most of our priority legislation made the crossover deadline!

The North Carolina House of Representatives passed their version of the state budget the first week of May in House Bill 966. The budget lays out state spending priorities for the next two years.

Note, this is not a final budget- the Senate will need to pass their own version and then the two chambers will need to come together to pass one state budget. Among the priorities detailed in the House version of the budget, some highlights include:

  • Raise the Age: $29.2 million for Raise the Age implementation in 2020 and $44.9 million in 2021. Some of these funds will go towards community programs to support juveniles.

  • Reentry Programs: To help reintegrate justice involved individuals back into the community, funds are provided to support 2 Licensed Clinical Social Workers in 2020 and 2 additional LCSWs in 2021.  

  • Permanency Innovation Initiative: $2.2 million in non-recurring funding in both years to improve permanency outcomes for children living in foster care settings.
  • Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG): Increases funds to serve 2,000 more individuals. The HCCBG supports aging adults with a variety of services such as home delivered meals, access to mental health services, and eye glasses.
  • Social Services Block Grant: Funds $893,041 each year to increase the number of Adult Protective Services workers in local county departments of social services. 
  • Child Welfare Program: $1.1 million in recurring funding in both years to create 11 new positions to increase the State’s capacity for technical assistance and program monitoring of county child welfare agencies.
  • Substance Abuse Services: $5 million in additional non-recurring state funding for substance abuse services in both years.
  • School Mental Health Support Personnel: $19 million in non-recurring funding in 2020 and $30 million in recurring funding in 2021 for public schools to add mental health support personnel (such as school social workers).
  • The House budget did NOT include funding for Medicaid Expansion.

Other updates

House Bill 796 Emotional Support Animals- Rental Units
This legislation would require certification of emotional support animals by licensed professionals such as licensed clinical social workers. The legislation is an attempt to crack down on organizations that provide certificates for emotional support animals but are not therapeutic in nature. The bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate where a few changes are anticipated to better support those that truly benefit from emotional support animals.

House Bill 613 Essential Services for Homeless Youth
The bill allows for unaccompanied homeless youth to receive behavioral health services- as well as optometry and dentistry- without a legal guardian present. North Carolina Public schools identified 2,650 unaccompanied homeless youth enrolled in school in the 2016-17 school year. The bill allows for documentation of homeless status from a school social worker as well as several others listed in the bill to be acceptable for the youth to receive services. NASW-NC worked with Representative Susan Fisher from Buncombe to get this legislation introduced. The bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate.


More updates in NASW-NC Newsletter!

Did you see the advocacy updates in the NASW-NC Newsletter? Check out the latest addition to learn more about what NASW-NC has been doing for YOU!

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