Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. There is hereby established a coordinating council on adolescent health care consisting of the commissioner of the department of public health, the commissioner of the department of education, the commissioner of the department of public welfare, the commissioner of the department of social services, the commissioner of the department of education, the commissioner of the department of mental health, the commissioner of the department of youth services, the director of the office for children, the secretary of the executive office of economic affairs, the secretary of the executive office of human services, or their designees and seven members to be appointed by the governor, four of whom shall be representatives of nonprofit organizations that provide advocacy or services to adolescents.
Said council is authorized to review all relevant data; compile and disseminate information on existing programs, determine met and unmet adolescent needs, provide planning and technical assistance to local and regional areas, develop model programs and service networks that would address and meet adolescent needs, encourage and support the development of community-based task forces whose objectives would be to assess and meet adolescent health needs, and promote coordination between existing services. The department of public health shall provide administrative support to the council.
Said council shall request each state agency providing services to adolescents to determine the nature, scope and impact of pre-adolescent and adolescent social, economic, educational, emotional and health care needs; assess existing resources and programs, nationally and in the commonwealth; encourage the development of new programs and resources in order to create uniform quality in service delivery; facilitate servicing at the time of need; provide consistency in maintenance and follow-up; determine program effectiveness for service delivery and meeting needs; determine social, economic, educational, physical and psychological impact and consequence of adolescent pregnancy and parenting, including influences on welfare dependency and the cycle of poverty often generated; assess special needs, vocational education, job training, and skills development needs; evaluate and determine potential sources of private and public funding; determine the need for networks and collaboratives that would streamline and facilitate the servicing process, and access adolescents to services; provide substantial recommendations for prevention and intervention services, and the implementation of such services.
SECTION 2. The objectives of the council shall include, but not be limited to promotion of an integrated approach and positive behaviors in all areas of adolescent physical and emotional health and development; identification of high risk pre-adolescents and adolescents; promotion of positive behaviors in self-esteem, personal and social interaction and communication, and a sense of self-worth; decrease in and prevention of early pregnancy and childbearing; promotion of personal, social and economic self-sufficiency and reducing economic and welfare dependency of pregnant and parenting teenage women, and parenting teenage fathers; promotion of health care for pregnant and parenting teenagers and their children, and reduce the incidence of infant mortality, infant morbidity, and low birthweight infant births; address the health issues and needs of all adolescents; promotion of behaviors and incentives that prevent adolescents from becoming dropouts and promotion of services and support systems enabling adolescents to complete high school, or equivalency.
SECTION 3. The council shall develop model programs with a major emphasis on prevention and intervention; model programs are to be multiservice, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary and must be available to students and the school-age population who are not attending school; model programs will incorporate some or all of the following: comprehensive health education, school-based health services, school programming and curriculum development, community-based health care, development of community resources and participation by community members and leaders, family services, and life options programs.
Model programs would be proposed for statewide adoption. Flexibility for adaptation to area and community needs and resources would be a major component of the programming process.
Collaboratives with individual communities shall be encouraged to assess community needs and resources, and to formulate an integrated, comprehensive plan to meet adolescent health needs.