122C-2. Policy.

The policy of the State is to assist individuals with needs for mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services in ways consistent with the dignity, rights, and responsibilities of all North Carolina citizens. Within available resources it is the obligation of State and local government to provide mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services through a delivery system designed to meet the needs of clients in the least restrictive, therapeutically most appropriate setting available and to maximize their quality of life. It is further the obligation of State and local government to provide community-based services when such services are appropriate, unopposed by the affected individuals, and can be reasonably accommodated within available resources and taking into account the needs of other persons for mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services.

State and local governments shall develop and maintain a unified system of services centered in area authorities or county programs. The public service system will strive to provide a continuum of services for clients while considering the availability of services in the private sector. Within available resources, State and local government shall ensure that the following core services are available:

(1) Screening, assessment, and referral.

(2) Emergency services.

(3) Service coordination.

(4) Consultation, prevention, and education.

Within available resources, the State shall provide funding to support services to targeted populations, except that the State and counties shall provide matching funds for entitlement program services as required by law.

As used in this Chapter, the phrase "within available resources" means State funds appropriated and non-State funds and other resources appropriated, allocated or otherwise made available for mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services.

The furnishing of services to implement the policy of this section requires the cooperation and financial assistance of counties, the State, and the federal government. (1977, c. 568, s. 1; 1979, c. 358, s. 1; 1983, c. 383, s. 1; 1985, c. 589, s. 2; c. 771; 1989, c. 625, s. 2; 2001-437, s. 1.1.)