DEADLINE TODAY!! Tell Sunset that YOUTH & FAMILIES MATTER!!
Earlier this week I posted about the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission staff report on HHSC, and specifically Issue 13. The recommendations of Issue 13 include dissolving state advisory boards that are critical to families in Texas having a voice in the legislative process. It took years of hard work and advocacy by families, caregivers and our allies to establish a way for our voices to be heard on issues that we face seeking services and supports for our children that have special needs.
While the System of Care Consortium is the state advisory board for best practices in children’s mental health, other critical boards are on the chopping block. Many of these boards have family and youth representatives on them: parents and youth or young adults that volunteer their time to make sure your concerns and voices are heard at the state level. To dissolve these boards and combine them into consolidated boards will dilute not only family and youth voices, but will also dilute our voices on specific issues, such as mental health.
The deadline to submit written public comment to the Sunset Commission on the HHSC report is by close of business today, 5:00PM CST.
You can submit comments using the online form. Click this link, which will take you directly to the HHSC report response form: Public Input Form – HHSC Sunset Commission
If you agree that family voices matter in the legislative process, and want families to continue to be a required part of the legislative process in Texas, please tell the Sunset Commission that you Oppose Issue 13.
You can read my recent blog post on the specific concerns for System of Care and how this recommendation could affect family and youth mental health advocacy by click on this link: HHSC Sunset Staff report published: Texas Youth and Family Call to Action – Oppose Issue 13!
If you would like to know more about some of the advisory boards that Sunset has recommended to dissolve, click on the following links for more information:
After this public comment deadline today there will still be an opportunity to have your voice be heard, by submitting written testimony and/or giving public testimony. The Texas Sunset Advisory Committee has tentatively scheduled a Hearing for Public Testimony on November 12th and 13th, location TBD.
Another way you can help is by telling your state legislative representatives know that you believe families and youth should continue to have a voice in Texas. To find out who represents you at the capitol, click the following link to go to the Texas Legislature website and enter your address: Texas Legislature – Who Represents Me?
Please Note: Your representatives may change after the election coming up in November. Hopefully, you are planning to vote! You can use the site linked above to find out your current district and who currently represents you. You can then find out who is running for State Senator and State Representative in your district by clicking this link: 2014 November General Election Candidates. This is a long list, because it includes ALL the candidates running for various offices in the upcoming election. Look for others running for office in your district as well, Google their names and find out what they believe in – it can be FUN to find out about that candidates that will be on the ballot when you go to vote. Also, don’t forget… early voting starts next week, on October 20th! Find out where to vote by clicking on this link: Where to Vote
As the Sunset Advisory Commission process continues, I will post regularly on issues that impact our children. If the recommendations in Issue 13 make it through the process and into a bill to be presented during the legislative session starting in January, I will continue to provide updates on when and where your voices can be heard.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue. Thank you to all the champions out there that show your support of the families and youth of Texas by forwarding and sharing my posts. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to contact me directly. I will do my best to assist families in any way that I can to make sure your voices and the voices of the families and youth we serve are heard at the state level!!
Let’s tell Sunset that Family Voices Matter!!
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Disclaimer: I am just a mom. Views expressed are only my observations as a mom, and are not in any way intended to be professional clinical advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please contact their healthcare provider, go to the emergency room, or call 911.