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Settlement OK’d for Arizona mental health funding

PHOENIX — A court has approved a settlement ending a 1981 lawsuit that
challenged Arizona’s funding of mental health services in Maricopa County.

Gov. Jan Brewer announced the agreement on Jan. 8 and a Maricopa County
Superior Court judge approved it Thursday.

The agreement will increase housing, employment and other services for the
seriously mentally ill in the state’s most populous county. Arizona also will
provide those services statewide.

Among the provisions are an additional 1,200 housing units for the mentally ill
population and a commitment to provide employment services for an additional 750
patients.

The deal won’t cost extra state funding beyond an extra $39 million annually
pumped into the system two years ago as part of an interim deal to end the suit
filed on behalf of the mentally ill.

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