Section 16Q. (a) There shall be a children’s behavioral health advisory council within, but not subject to control of, the executive office of health and human services. The council shall advise the governor, the general court and the secretary of health and human services.
(b) The council shall consist of not fewer than 24 members and shall be comprised of: (i) the following 10 members, who shall serve ex officio: the commissioner of mental health, who shall serve as chair, the commissioner of children and families, the commissioner of youth services, the commissioner of developmental services, the commissioner of public health, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, the commissioner of early education and care, the commissioner of insurance, the director of Medicaid, and the child advocate, or their designees; (ii) additional persons appointed by the secretary of health and human services from the aforementioned agencies and from the executive office of health and human services; and (iii) 1 person from each of the following organizations appointed by the secretary of health and human services from a list of nominees submitted by each organizations:— Parent/Professional Advocacy League, Inc.; Massachusetts Psychological Association, Inc.; Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems, Inc.; Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, Inc.; Children’s League of Massachusetts, Inc.; the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; New England Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Inc.; Mental Health and Substance Abuse Corporations of Massachusetts, Inc.; the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; Massachusetts Hospital Association, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, Inc., Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, Inc.; and (iv) the following 4 community and provider members appointed by the secretary of health and human services: 2 persons under the age of 22 who are consumers of behavioral health services; a physician, pediatrician or child and adolescent psychiatrist from a community health center; and a professional with expertise in human services workforce development. The members of the children’s behavioral health advisory council shall represent the culturally and linguistically diverse populations served by the executive office and its agencies.
The terms for nongovernmental members shall be 3 years. Upon the expiration of his term, a nongovernmental member shall serve until a successor has been appointed; provided, however, that if a vacancy exists prior to the expiration of a term, another nongovernmental member shall be appointed to complete the unexpired term.
(c) The council shall review: (i) the reports on the status of children awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services provided by the secretary of health and human services under section 16P; (ii) the behavioral health indicators reports provided by the department of early education and care under subsection (g) of section 3 of chapter 15D; (iii) the research reports provided by the children’s behavioral health research center under section 23 of chapter 19; and (iv) legislative proposals and statutory and regulatory policies impacting children’s behavioral health services.
(d) The council shall make legislative and regulatory recommendations related to: (i) best and promising practices for behavioral health care of children and their families, including practices that promote wellness and the prevention of behavioral health problems and that support the development of evidence-based interventions with children and their parents; (ii) implementation of interagency children’s behavioral health initiatives with the goal of promoting a comprehensive, coordinated, high-quality, safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable, family-centered, culturally-competent and a linguistically and clinically appropriate continuum of behavioral health services for children; (iii) the extent to which children with behavioral health needs are involved with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems; (iv) licensing standards relevant to the provision of behavioral health services for programs serving children, including those licensed by entities outside of the executive office of health and human services; (v) continuity of care for children and families across payers, including private insurance; and (vi) racial and ethnic disparities in the provision of behavioral health care to children.
(e) The council shall submit an annual report, with legislative and regulatory recommendations, by October 1st to the governor, the secretary of health and human services, the commissioner of early education and care, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, the child advocate and the general court, by filing them with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, the joint committee on health care financing and the senate and the house committees on ways and means.
(f) The meetings of the council shall comply with chapter 30A, except that the council, through its by-laws, may provide for executive sessions of the council. No action of the council shall be taken in an executive session.
(g) The members of the council shall not receive a salary or per diem allowance for serving as members of the council, but shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties.