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Government Mental Health Screening Comments from Connecticut

(NEW) Missing: Required Information from the TEENSCREEN Proposal

Children’s Social, Emotional & Behavioral Health Plan

A Response To:  Indiana Commission on Mental Health

Indiana P-16 Plan

Smaller Learning Centers


Children’s Social, Emotional & Behavioral Health Plan:

Missing: Required Information
From the
Children’s Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan
As Proposed by the
Commission on Mental Health
Authorized under Senate Enrolled Act 529 / IC 20-19-05

By:      Ed Sparks
            Founder and CEO of EdAlert

It is my understanding that when the State Legislature empowers a select Commission to accomplish a specific task, that the named Commission must abide by and meet all the requirements set forth in the enabling legislation. That is, specifically, when the Indiana General Assembly set up the Commission on Mental Health it wrote certain requirements into the Indiana law and stated precisely what the submitted Plan shall recommend. (The operating word here is “shall”. Shall means “will comply”.)

I received a copy of the Senate Enrolled Act No. 529 from the State. I studied it for several days and, surprisingly, found an item missing from the Commission on Mental Health’s Plan that I had completely overlooked in my past reviews of that Plan.

In the Senate Enrolled Act No. 529, Section 79, IC 20-19-5, Chapter 5 information required by the Legislature from the Commission, to detail and describe the Children’s Mental Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan, is described in 14 separate Items.

In Chapter 5, the introduction of Section 2 states: “The children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health plan shall recommend:” Those 14 separate Items follow.

Item (8) under that “Section 2” states:

(8) a state budget for children’s social, emotional, and mental health prevention and treatment;

I find that this “budget” recommendation has not been included within the Commissions “Children’s Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan” as required by the enabling legislation.

Therefore, as the Commissions Report does not meet the requirements of the enabling legislation, SEA 529, Section 79, IC 20-19-5, Chapter 5, Section 2, Item (8), it would appear to me that the Plan cannot be submitted to the Legislature, or received by the Legislature, for acceptance or rejection until that Item (8) has been completed.

By completed, I mean that costs of services described or implied in the Plan must be researched, figures detailed and verified, then arranged into a logical budget format that can be easily understood and then included in the Plan.

That Plan, with the budget included, must then be resubmitted to the public, the Indiana taxpayers, at four public hearings (as was the original Plan) so that the public has the right to review and comment on the budget expenses proposed for implementation of the “Children’s Mental, Social and Behavioral Health Plan” before it is submitted to the Legislature.

Be Advised:

On page 16 of the Plan there is a Section titled “Finance and Budget”. That section in no logical way details or describes “a state budget” as required by the enabling legislation and needed by the taxpayers who must pay for this new, proposed state service.

Appendix “A” referenced in that section is an inventory of public systems, services and programs already serving Indiana children. No financial figures showing present or future state expenditures in that area are included anywhere in that section.

What We are Talking About:

This bill, that gave us the Children’s Mental, Social and Behavioral Health Plan, was hidden in an omnibus spending bill, Senate Enrolled Act No. 529, passed by the 2005 Legislature. Only one Legislator voted against it, Representative Brown. Less than a dozen legislators did not vote either for or against. It was well hidden as it showed up as Section 79, deeply hidden in 199 different Sections of the bill.

This bill is dangerous in that it brings mandatory mental health screening to all Indiana children from birth to 22 years of age. There are no provisions for exemption for private school children, for children taught at home or for those families with religious reservations. It will allow Department of Education inspectors, state employees, to come in to any home, with a child, and inspect that home to ensure it complies with state standards. In reality they will be inspecting the home owners or parents.

The actual mental testing is dangerous in many ways. Many of the questions require the students to incriminate themselves. For instance in one test administered to those students there is a sequence of questions dealing with alcohol.

Read those questions

“In the last year (1) have you had six or more drinks? (2) Did you get in trouble with the police when you were drunk or because you had been drinking? (3) Did you get into arguments with your family or friends because of drinking? (4) Did you miss school to go drinking or because you were hung over?”

In this country we are not required to answer any questions that would incriminate us and we ALL have the right to have a lawyer present at all times when we are being questioned on any subject that may incriminate us. It’s called our “Miranda Rights” and the Fourth Amendment. Yet, here we see the possibility of children being asked numerous questions that may directly incriminate them.

These rights are not removed just because the testing (questioning) is accomplished in a public school environment.

Costs of This Plan:

From the Commonwealth Education Organization, a Pennsylvania organization, (www.ceopa.org) we get a listing of what it will cost to establish a taxpayer-funded universal mental health care plan for Indiana. The budget must contain:

More $ to develop a “needs assessment”—a skewed “study” pre-designed to show that Indiana really does “need” these programs
More $ to guarantee that all children and families have access to all social, emotion and behavioral health services
More $ to implement a system to “track” the kids
More $ to create a data tracking/sharing system to connect various agencies, schools, and providers

  • More $ to provide worker training and certification
  • More $ to establish “criteria’ benchmarks for service delivery systems
  • More $ to design a new system of collaboration among various providers
  • More $ to develop outcomes and indicators to measure each child’s progress
  • More $ to launch a PR “public education” to ensure public acceptance of The Plan

It is the taxpayers who will be called upon to pay for this program. Unbelievably these costs were not addressed within the Plan as developed and presented to the public four times this year.

I, as an Indiana resident, want to know exactly what the eventual cost of this Mental Health Screening Plan will be to the Indiana taxpayers. I also want the Legislators to be aware of those costs and of the extent of the intrusion into the private lives of Indiana families that this Plan will bring to Indiana residents.

There is much more important information and many more valid questions about this Mental Health Screening Plan not addressed here. These questions are so important that the Legislature should revisit this entire concept of universal children’s Mental Health Screening and remove IC 20-19-5 from the Indiana Codes.


The Plan is posted on the web at www.edalert.com. There is a Critique of the Plan posted and a link to a second site where you, or any interested party, can sign a petition to oppose this Plan. That Petition is sponsored by State Representative, Jackie Walorski.

My speech, a video and the written version, in opposition to the Children’s Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan, is also included at www.edalert.com. Unfortunately, as you will see, the Chair Person chose to stop my speech just before I questioned the funding. There, in the draft of the speech, I estimated the cost to run into the billions of dollars.
There is already one lawsuit filed in northern Indiana against a school that tested a student, the daughter of Michael and Teresa Rhoades, without receiving written parental permission. There will be more such lawsuits when parents around Indiana realize that there is a federal law, the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), also known as the “Hatch Amendment”, that allows parents to inspect instructional materials used in connection with any U. S. Department of Education-funded survey, analysis or evaluation.

Ed Sparks