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News & Press: Updates for Members

Governor Cooper Releases 2018-19 Recommended Budget

Thursday, May 10, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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Governor Cooper released his 2018-19 Recommended Budget, which includes significant proposed investments in North Carolina’s ability to better serve individuals mental health, substance use disorders, and intellectual/developmental disability needs. Among those proposed investments are:

 

Closing the health insurance gap

Governor Cooper's budget recommends closing the healthcare coverage gap in a cost-neutral manner to the State. Medicaid expansion would cover an additional 670,000 individuals and inject over $4 billion into North Carolina’s economy annually.

 

Proposed Investments in Innovations Waiver Program

  • Funding for 50 additional slots on the NC Innovations waiver for individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities.
  • Funding for 150 slots under a new waiver adjunct to the current Innovations Waiver program that would serve individuals with less acute needs. 

Proposed Investments to Strengthen Community Mental Health

  • Funding to create a community-based pilot program to bridge the gap for individuals who are discharge ready in state operated psychiatric facilities but lack the intensive, community-based services that would allow them to leave the facility and integrate into the community.
  • Funding to continue Mental Health First Aid Training and suicide prevention lifeline for individuals in crises.

Proposed Investments to Strengthen Families and Reduce Child/Adult Abuse and Neglect 

  • $7 million to provide focused programming on quality, child maltreatment prevention that strives to strengthen family protective factors.
  • $3.2 million to implement and provide options for evidenced -based home visiting programs including but limited to, Child First, Family Connects as well as other early childhood mental health interventions to address child abuse and neglect prevention and to impact school safety. 
  • $1 million in additional Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funding to support expanded Adult Protective Services to address the health and safety of vulnerable adults.

Proposed Investments to Address the Opioid Epidemic

  • $9.8 million to serve an additional 1,150 to 1,400 individuals through publicly funded Medication-Assisted Treatment as well as alternative treatment methods and recovery support services.

 

Additionally, Governor Cooper's budget focuses on safer schools and better support for state employees. Some of his initiatives include:

 

Improving Student Support Services

  • School nurses, counselors, psychologists, and social workers play a critical role in identifying and treating youth mental health needs. Governor Cooper’s budget provides $40 million in flexible funding for schools to hire additional personnel to support students and youth mental health. This allocation would provide at least 500 additional positions statewide.
  • Provides funding for innovative programs to support the mental health needs of children and youth. That includes resources to increase the availability of evidence-based training programs that help teachers, school staff, and mental health professionals identify and respond to student mental health challenges.  It supports new funding to provide services to children with identified behavioral health needs and programs designed to give tools to families and providers who care for them. 
  • The budget also includes funding for early childhood programs and critical new family strengthening initiatives that will build family and child resilience, address childhood trauma, and prevent adverse mental health outcomes later in life.

Investing in state employees

  • Pay raises for all state employees of $1,250 or 2-percent of salary; whichever is greater.
  • Five days of non-expiring bonus leave for all state employees.
  • An additional $1,000 salary increase for approximately 29,513 institutional employees in the Departments of Public Safety and Health and Human Services.
  • A 1-percent Cost-of-living Adjustment (COLA) for retirees.
  • Full funding of the employer contribution to the retirement system.

 

Read the Governor's full budget adjustments here: https://files.nc.gov/ncosbm/documents/files/BudgetBook_2018-19_web.pdf


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