During the 2012-13 fiscal year we accomplished some significant victories by working together and marshaling our resources to get legislation passed, solve regulatory issues, respond to media sensationalism, and monitor state elections.
- Influenced federal legislation by participating in “Hill Days” in Washington, DC
- Influenced state legislation by hosting a “Day at the Capitol” which was attended by over 150 people from our member agencies
- Developed education materials (Children’s Publication, Medicaid pamphlet, fact sheets) for member agencies, legislators, and the general public
- Maximized our political impact by keeping our members informed of legislative and policy issues so they could effectively communicate with their elected officials.
- Worked closely with the Governor’s office, Restoring Arizona, AHCCCS, and others regarding Medicaid expansion; participated in numerous rallies and press conferences
- Lead statewide efforts to address egregious concerns raised in the Auditor General’s sunset review report regarding the continuation, reform, and restructuring of the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners using stakeholder input (SB 1374 and SB 1432)
- Supported Behavioral Health legislation that removed archaic and offensive language from the state statute (HB2066)
- Supported Child Welfare legislation that addresses concerns with Child Protective Services (HB2144 and SB1375) , provides stipends for grandparents raising their children (SB1090), and provides college tuition options for children aging out of foster care (SB1208)
- Supported the emergency appropriation for CPS to add additional case workers to address the flood of children entering into CPS care (HB2502, SB1249) which passed both houses unanimously
- Worked with the DHS on administrative rules impacting member programs
- Provided insight, feedback, and guidance during the OBHL licensure rulemaking process
- Further developed the Council as the “Go To” Organization on behavioral health and child welfare: The Council has established itself with DHS, DES and AOC as the organization that they want to work with to find solutions to problems and to bring the provider voice to policy development.
- The Governor’s Office has included us on the team working on Medicaid and is working with us on the BBHE bill and appointments to the BBHE board of directors.
- Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative: The Council has represented the behavioral health community on this AOC initiative. A committee of Maricopa providers and the RBHA was convened to develop alternatives to detention for juveniles with behavioral health issues that developed recommendations for diversion for assessment and treatment.
- Council staff will present a workshop with AOC at the UA Rural Health Conference this summer to present the JDAI initiative and what is happening in the rural counties where it is much more difficult to develop resources. This will stimulate more discussion in rural counties to help in the development of alternatives to detention throughout the state.
Through the Political Action Committee
- Supported 14 candidates with primary and general election PAC contributions
- Educated candidates and legislators about issues of concern to our membership
Services to Member Programs and the Community
- Membership Growth and Retention: In 2008 we had 68 members. We now have 81 committed members, despite tough economic times.
- Continued work on the Spanish language Interpreter Academy
- Development of a Diversity Committee Strategic Plan addressing the needs of under-represented and under-served populations
- Completion of bi-annual Salary Survey adding 10 Child Welfare and Support Staff positions with participation from 52 member and 7 non-member agencies
- Provided training, resources, information, and education in a variety of venues throughout the state to improve awareness and understanding of the issues impacting Arizona’s families
- Provided media assistance following sensationalized news stories about Residential Treatment Programs
- Same Day Access Project: The National Council awarded a Technical Assistance (TA) contract to Arizona for the Same Day Access Project. The Council project included 9 agencies that have been working on this for the past six months. We will draw from their experiences to benefit the larger membership.
The media training that we did as part of the St Luke’s Health Initiative grant paid off this year as evidenced by the effective advocacy of our members and our broader PR statewide committee that was developed as part of the grant. Our media consultant has worked with us to get the client stories before the media. We also worked together with our residential treatment providers to mitigate some of the negative publicity in the Arizona Republic series. We advocated with the Arizona Republic to remove some the client information that was reported on their web site.