Legislation and Policy News for Family Run Organizations

On this page we highlight the latest legislation and policy implementation that may effect family run organizations (FROs) and the families they serve.  Visit the sections below to learn more about current legislative topics that are relevant to the important work of FROs.


We update this page frequently so we encourage you to visit regularly to find new information and resources and to stay current on legislation and policies that may affect your organization and your community.


Following our Legislative and Advocacy page on Facebook is the best way to get daily news about what is happening on both the national and state levels.


Should you have any questions or need guidance please contact Michelle Covington at mcovington@ffcmh.org

Here's What FROs Need to Know - Click Any Section to Learn More

What's Being Implemented Now

Implementing from The American Rescue Plan Child Tax Credit

How to Access Your Benefits Under the American Rescue Plan The American Rescue Plan Act and other COVID relief offer important benefits to help you and your family during the pandemic. This fact sheet from the National Women's Law Center can help you find the benefits available this year. Funeral Assistance FAQs Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. Informational Bulletin on Medicaid, CHIP, and Basic Health Program On June 3rd, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released this bulletin on the related provisions on Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Basic Health Program (BHP) Related Provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. CMS plans to release additional guidance on Medicaid state plan amendment and waiver request options as well as planning grants in the coming months. Special Enrollment Period Extended for Health Insurance Marketplace The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that additional savings and lower health care costs are available for consumers on HealthCare.gov. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) has increased tax credits available to consumers, helping to reduce premiums and giving consumers access to affordable health care coverage. People who want to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for more affordable premiums can visit HealthCare.gov to view 2021 plans and prices and, if eligible, enroll in a plan that best meets their needs. Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. The Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the Health Insurance Marketplace® will officially be available to consumers in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform through August 15th.
  • CMS Fact Sheet
  • Stakeholder Toolkit (Fact sheets are available in multiple languages)
Mental Health Block Grant Guidance The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released guidance to states regarding the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s additional SAMHSA funds to support states through Block Grants. According to the letter, states have until September 30, 2025, to expend these funds. Medicaid Extension for New Moms The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allows states to extend pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum. Key Points about Medicaid Extension:
  • States would have a new option to cover women in pregnancy-related Medicaid and CHIP coverage for one year after the end of pregnancy, extending their coverage well beyond the current cutoff of 60 days. 
  • States that opt to extend postpartum coverage must do so for both Medicaid and CHIP (if they cover pregnant women through CHIP). The option will be available to states for seven years.
988 Crisis Line 988 was approved by Congress in 2020 and is set to go live nationwide by July 2022. 988 will serve as America's first three-digit crisis number dedicated to mental health, and as an alternative to 911 for mental health-related crises. For example, if someone is having suicidal thoughts, if someone is experiencing delusions, or if someone is displaying severe symptoms of a mental health condition, 988 can provide a specialized, mental health response that will save lives and preserve community resources. Telehealth for the Treatment of Serious Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory released a new evidence-based resource guide to support implementation of telehealth across diverse mental health and substance use disorder treatment settings.

Passed Legislation and Policy Changes

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law on March 22, 2021. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Proposed Legislation and Policies

The People’s Response Act On June 28th, Representatives Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, Jan Schakowsky, and Pramila Jayapa introduced The People's Response Act to advance a health-centered approach to public safety by funding non-police emergency first responders such as social workers and peer support specialists. Better Care Better Jobs Act On June 24, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Better Care Better Jobs Act. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the House companion. This legislation would make a historic investment in home and community-based services by strengthening and expanding access to quality home care services and lifting up the workforce that provides them. The bill would specifically require expansion of community behavioral health services. By significantly expanding federal investment in community mental health services, this legislation provides an important opportunity to increase the availability of those services. Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act On June 16th, Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Robert C. Scott (D-VA) as well as Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Patty Murray (D-WA), reintroduced the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act on legislation that would double the Pell Grant award, index the award to inflation, and make other changes to expand the award for working students and families.

Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021 On June 15th, the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021 was reintroduced in the Senate by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) with cosponsors Steve Daines (R-MT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). This legislation would allow for the broad adoption of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model, The Community-Based Response Act On June 14, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and U.S. Representative Karen Bass (D-Calif.) presented legislation aimed at providing alternatives to law enforcement. would operate through the Department of Health and Human Services to fund programs that create appropriate options for community-based emergency responses. More specifically, the act will support mental and behavioral health experts, crisis responders, or mediation. Protecting Our Students in Schools Act (S.4936) June 10th, Reps. A. Donald McEachin (VA), Suzanne Bonamici (OR), and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) re-introduced the Protecting Our Students in Schools Act to federally prohibit the practice of corporal punishment in any school that receives federal funding. The legislation would also establish much-needed enforcement protections and a federal grant program to assist states and school districts in improving the climate and culture of schools across the country. Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act (H.R. 1803) On March 10th it was introduced by Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-3). The bill which will support positive mental health promotion and suicide prevention programs in high schools would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a grant program that provides funding to school districts to strengthen awareness through prevention efforts, public health campaign materials, and other activities. Keeping All Students Safe Act (HR 3474/S.1858) On May 26th. Senator Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Beyer (D-VA) introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA/ HR 3474/S.1858). This bill is intended to reduce the use of restraints and seclusion of students in schools. It has been well-documented that students with autism, especially those of color, are more frequently subjected to restraints and seclusion that can cause trauma, physical harm, and in some cases death. The best way for this bill to become law is for it to receive bipartisan support. Medicaid Bump Act (H.R. 3450/S.1727) Introduced May 20th, the Medicaid Bump Act would incentivize states to expand coverage of behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use services, by providing a corresponding increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) matching rate to 90% for these services. Children and Media Research Advancement Act, or CAMRA Act (H.R. 2161/S. 971) On March 25th, this bipartisan bill was introduced by Senators Markey (D-MA), Sasse (R-NE), Schatz (D-HI), Blunt (R-MO),  Bennet (D-CO) and Collins (R-ME)  and by Representatives Raskin (D-MD-08), Gonzalez (R-OH), and Trahan (D-MA). It would authorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to dedicate funding to research  the impacts of various forms of media and technology on infants, children and adolescents. The bill requires that this research must be focus on the impact social media and other screen-based content has on the cognitive and social-emotional development of our nation’s kids. Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0   The CARA Act was introduced on March 25th by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Would authorize $785 million toward substance use prevention, treatment, criminal justice, and recovery programs. It prohibits states from requiring prior authorization for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) under Medicaid, permanently allows providers to prescribe MAT via audio-only telehealth after criteria are met, removes limits on the number of patients a physician can treat with buprenorphine and methadone, and creates a pilot program to study mobile methadone clinics in rural and underserved areas. Read the  section-by-section summary for more details. The Mental Health Justice Act (H.R. 1368/S. 515) Introduced on March 1st by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA), Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA) . The Mental Health Justice Act would help local governments fund expenses for mental health provider first responder units to respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, The Mental Health Justice Act would create a grant program to pay for hiring, training, salary, benefits and additional expenses for mental health provider first responder units. Family Support Services for Addiction Act (S. 485) Introduced in Senate on February 25th by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The House of Representatives passed the Family Support Services for Addiction Act (H.R.). The legislation fills a significant gap in federal addiction resources by providing family programs with support and funding for their critical services. It will create a grant program that will invest in the roles of caregivers and families in addressing loved ones’ substance use disorder, empowering them with training, education, and peer-to-peer support. The Mental Health Services for Students Act (H.R. 721) Was introduced on February 2, 2021, and sponsored by Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24). This bill seeks to amend the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend projects relating to children and to provide access to school-based comprehensive mental health programs.