Governor Abbott Directs HHSC To Ensure All Children In Uvalde Have Access To Behavioral Health Resources
Governor Greg Abbott today sent a letter directing Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Commissioner Cecile Young to use all available resources to ensure mental health support services are available to every child in the Uvalde community following the tragedy at Robb Elementary School. The Governor also instructed HHSC to work alongside the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium to provide behavioral health resources and community support that are crucial for Uvalde to heal.
"As these families begin to rebuild their lives, it is essential that the children of Uvalde have access to mental health treatment," reads the letter. "The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has jurisdiction over behavioral health services on behalf of the State. Given this substantial capacity, I am asking that you use all available resources to work with families to provide behavioral health services to every child in Uvalde who desires support. Although we cannot erase what happened in Uvalde, we can ensure, through the coordinated efforts of HHSC, TEA, and other organizations, that every child in that community gets the support they need."
Governor Abbott has taken significant action to provide all available resources to support the Uvalde community following the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School. Those actions include:
- Initiating the State of Texas' comprehensive plan to assist and support members of the community, including co-locating state agency representatives to the Family Assistance Center for on-hand assistance in finding benefits.
- Issuing a disaster declaration at the request of local leaders to accelerate all available state and local resources to assist the Uvalde community.
- Requesting Texas legislative leaders convene special legislative committees to begin examining and developing legislative recommendations on school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more.
- Directing the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) to begin immediately conducting comprehensive school safety reviews to ensure all Texas public schools are following the appropriate procedures to maximize school safety.
- Directing the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide strategies to make Texas public schools safer through heightened safety standards.
- Instructing the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) programs to provide training to all school districts across the state, prioritizing school-based law enforcement.
- Directing DPS, TEA, THECB to expand and accelerate the ability to report suspicious activity through the iWatchTexas reporting system.
- Investing an initial $5 million into establishing a long-term Family Resiliency Center (FRC) in Uvalde County to serve as a hub for community services, including access to the critical mental health resources.
- Working with the OneStar Foundation to create a one-stop webpage for donations to support the victims' families, teachers, and the Uvalde community.