Prop 47 Implementation begins
Simple form now available to get felony convictions removed from records.
Proposition 47 was passed by California voters in November. It changes convictions for ALL drug possession and minor theft under $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor - RETROACTIVELY.
That means that anyone who has a felony conviction on their record due to one of these offenses can get that conviction removed from their record and be able to answer "NO" to the question on job applications about whether you have ever been convicted of a felony.
We know this affects a lot of people served by our member agencies many of whom were "self-medicating" with illegal drugs before they got into a recovery oriented program.
This history is often a major impediment to employment. Proposition 47 offers a solution in reclassifying these convictions to misdemeanors. To have the conviction removed from a record a person needs to file a form with the court of the county in which the conviction occurred. No hearing or lawyer representation is required.
Californians for Safety and Justice, the organization that led the campaign for the measure, has developed a simple form to file. It is available on a new website www.prop47recordchange.com, together with answers to other common questions.
National Survey Shows California 45th in Nation in identifying students as needing special education mental health services due to a serious emotional disturbance. This shows the need to quadruple number of students we identify and serve
Earlier this month, Mental Health America released the above linked national survey which compared performance among the 50 states in several mental health performance indicators mostly focusing on numbers of people needing and accessing care. On most measures California came out in the middle. However, one area where we ranked near the bottom was in the number of students that were identified as needing special education mental health services due to a serious emotional disturbance. We ranked 45th among the states - identifying just four children per 1000. The national average is 8 and 16 is the average among the ten best performing states - which is a better benchmark since we know the average state does not do a very good job of meeting mental health needs.
That means we need to at least quadruple the number of students we identify and serve. Interestingly this actually represents an improvement from a similar study in 1990 when we ranked 49th and were identifying fewer than 2 students per 1000. That earlier study reflected the era before AB 3632 and led to creating that law to remove what were perceived as disincentives for schools to identify and serve students.
The Department of Education has reported that the total number of students receiving special education mental health services under AB 114 is about the same as the number served under AB 3632, while our members and child advocates have complained that many youth are going unserved.
This report shows that even if the numbers are the same as under AB 3632 that is not anywhere near adequate and helps make our case for the need for a completely new comprehensive approach to get all students with the mental health services they need - and ideally as early as possible.
We will be sharing this report with state officials and expect them to work with us to find solutions.