Accessing Behavioral Health Services in Schools



AHCCCS covers medically necessary behavioral health services for Medicaid-enrolled students. Many of these services are provided directly on school campuses, making it easier for students to get services where they are, and as soon as they need help. If you need help accessing behavioral health services for yourself or others, see How to Access Behavioral Health Services flowchart.

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) created the Behavioral Health Resource Guide for principals, other education administrators, school mental health professionals and anyone who wishes to be a voice that promotes the need for school mental health resources in Arizona.

Jake’s Law Covers Students Without Insurance

Did you know that Arizona students are eligible to receive behavioral health services, regardless of insurance coverage? Through a special allocation of one-time state funding, schools can refer students for counseling for anxiety, depression, social isolation, stress, behavioral issues, or any other mental health services. Families will not receive a bill for these services; they are covered by tax dollars.

In 2020, the Arizona State Legislature allocated $8 million for behavioral health services in school settings for students who are underinsured or uninsured. Known as the Children’s Behavioral Health Services Fund (or Jake’s Law), schools must develop a policy to refer students for behavioral health services, and to allow families to opt-in or opt-out of the referral process each year. This funding is available through June, 2022.

Behavioral health services under this funding are provided to students by participating health care providers contracted with the three Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHAs), Mercy Care (in Central Arizona), Arizona Complete Health Complete Care (in Southern Arizona), and Health Choice Arizona (in Northern Arizona). See this flyer for a list of contracted providers with each RBHA, or see the chart below.

Southern Arizona Central Arizona Northern Arizona
Arizona Complete Health Complete Care Plan Mercy Care Health Choice Arizona
Arizona Children's Association Casa de los Niños
COPE Community Services
Horizon Health & Wellness
Pathways
La Frontera
Intermountain
Arizona Youth & Family Services
Community Bridges Inc.
Devereux
Family Involvement Center
Horizon Health and Wellness
Jewish Family and Children’s Service
LaFrontera-EMPACT
New Hope of Arizona
Open Hearts
Pathways of Arizona
Resilient Health
Southwest Behavioral and Health Services
Southwest Network
Terros Health
The Resolution Group
Touchstone Health Services
Valle Del Sol
Change Point Integrated Health
Encompass Health Services
Horizon Health & Wellness
Little Colorado Behavioral Health Centers
Mohave Mental Health Clinic
Southwest Behavioral & Health Services
Spectrum Healthcare
The Guidance Center
Polara Health (formerly West Yavapai Guidance Clinic)

For further inquiries, please email bhinschools@azahcccs.gov

FAQ for Parents

  • How do I get behavioral health services for my child?
    • If your child is a current Medicaid member, call the number on the back of your insurance card.
    • If your child is not currently a Medicaid member, call the phone number for the Regional Behavioral Health Authority in your area, OR request a referral for services from your child’s school.
  • Does my student need an individualized education plan to receive behavioral health services in their school?
    • No, an individualized education plan is not required to receive behavioral health services in their school. Each school has unique relationships with behavioral health providers in their area. Some schools allow services to be provided on campus; other schools refer students off campus. Speak with your school nurse or principal on how to connect your student with services.
  • Do I need to provide permission for my child to receive a referral, or to receive behavioral health services in their school?
    • Yes. A parent or guardian must provide permission for their child to receive a referral, or to receive a behavioral health service.
  • How much does it cost to receive behavioral health services?
    • This is different for everyone, though there should be little to no out-of-pocket cost for services provided in, or referred by,our child’s school. You may be required to pay premiums or co-payments to receive medical services under some AHCCCS programs. Generally, the amount of these payments depends on the AHCCCS program and your monthly income.

FAQ for Schools

  • How do I get behavioral health services for students at my school?
    • The Behavioral Health Resource Guide for Schools gives school leadership and parents steps to follow to partner with a behavioral health provider in your community, and to create the necessary policies to make referrals. This guide was created by AHCCCS and the Arizona Department of Education. Sample policy templates are included.
  • Who pays for behavioral health services in schools?
    • Behavioral health services for children who qualify for Medicaid (AHCCCS) may receive services through their AHCCCS health plan. Further, uninsured and underinsured students may also receive behavioral health services paid by AHCCCS under the Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG), the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG), and, for a limited time, with the Children’s Behavioral Health Services Fund.
  • What is the Mental Health Block Grant and which children are included?
    • The Mental Health Block Grant provides grant funded services to children with serious emotional disturbances and individuals who have experienced a first episode of psychosis within the past 2 years.Learn more on the Mental Health Block Grant web page.
  • What is the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and which children are included?