CESSA Communication, Information Sharing & Public Messaging Subcommittee Approved Charter

Charter for the CESSA Communication, Information Sharing & Public Messaging
Approved by Members 12/14/2022  **Updated 03/08/2023**


On August 25, 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law, the Community Emergency Services and Support Act (CESSA). This legislation, also called the Stephon Watts Act, was passed following the police shooting of a 15-old African American male with autism while in his home. The stated intent of the legislation to "to provide emergency response, with or without medical transportation, to individuals requiring mental health or behavioral health services in a manner that is substantially equivalent to the response already provided to individuals who require emergency physical health care." The putative goal of the legislation is to, whenever capacity exists and its legally and medically appropriate given assessed risk level, first allow mental health providers to serve as initial responders in situations where an individual presents with a behavioral health crisis. The entry points into this 'behavioral health first response' can be 988, the new behavioral health crisis number launched nationally on July 16, 2022. The behavioral health responders for these crises will be the 66, Mobile Crisis Response (MCR) teams housed within community-based behavioral health providers across the state.

The CESSA Act created the Statewide Advisory Committee "to review and make recommendations for aspects of coordinating 911 and the 988 MCR system most appropriately addressed on a state level to achieve the intent of the legislation". The Statewide Advisory Committee will serve as the oversight and governance structure for the implementation of this legislation under the auspice of the Secretary of the Department of Human Services. Regional Advisory Committees (RAC), utilizing the pre-existing Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) Medical Directors Committee structures under the Department of Public Health's eleven (11) EMS regions, will be charged with the development of regional best practices and protocols consistent with the realities of the locale. The role of the Communication, Information Sharing & Public Messaging CESSA Subcommittee is proposed and described below.

Responsibilities, Deliverables, and legislation-specific expectations

  1. Identify a Chair and Co-Chair(s) of the Technical Subcommittee to preside over the proceedings.
  2. Establish a reporting format and cadence for complying with regional reporting requirements, and subcommittee reporting for ongoing system monitoring.
  3. The Technical Subcommittee on Communication, Information Sharing and Public Messaging is responsible for providing guidance and recommendations to the Statewide Advisory Committee as a whole, and to the Regional Advisory Committees in the following areas listed below. All official communications by committee members and public messaging strategies shall be coordinated with DHS Office of Communications.
    1. Identifying key statewide stakeholders and local constituencies in the 11 EMS regions requiring ongoing communication and updates including types/modalities and cadence of updates
    2. Identifying local media outlets in print, streaming radio, radio, streaming television, social media, and events for broad dissemination of information concerning systems changes
    3. Toolkits for statewide and regional communication and public messaging strategies including the following:
      1. Identifying state resources that can be leveraged (e.g., 988 informational materials), websites, fact sheets, etc.
      2. Identifying partners for communicating system changes including sister agencies, local government, and community agencies
      3. PSA radio scripts
      4. E-newsletter templates
      5. Presentation decks
      6. Social media/Digital shareables
      7. Guidance for information sharing when transferring calls from 911 to 988, 911 to 988, 988 to MCR and MCR to 988.
  4. Deliverables:
    1. Updated table of key statewide stakeholders and the types/modalities and cadence of communication updates to be received
    2. Statewide public communication strategy developed in collaboration with state communication offices and a toolkit for regions to determine local media outlets in print, streaming, radio, streaming television, social media and events for broad dissemination and messaging
    3. Guidance for the regions to determine protocols for information sharing when transferring calls from 911 to 988, 911 to 988, 988 to MCR and MCR to 988.Data elements as included in the CESSA legislation


Membership in the CESSA Subcommittees includes Statewide Advisory Committee members and members of the Statewide Expert Consultant Group. Public comment will be allowed as a part of each Subcommittee meeting, consistent with the Illinois Open Meetings Act.



The official term of the SAC was set to expire January 1, 2023; however, the Secretary of the Department of Human Services has elected to extend the term to continue to monitor the progress of implementation. All appointed during the official term shall serve through July 1, 2023. All SAC deadlines will apply to the Technical Subcommittees as well.


An opening on the subcommittee may occur due to a resignation. If there is an opening on the subcommittee, the co-chairs shall seek a replacement member to be appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Human Services prior to the next subcommittee meeting. Alternative members may serve at the discretion of the primary member of the organization. When a subcommittee member cannot attend a meeting, a substitute may attend for the purposes of monitoring the discussion.


The Chair and Co-Chair(s) will determine what expertise is necessary to conduct the work of the Committee and communicate those requirements to the Statewide Advisory Committee. The Statewide Advisory Committee and Technical Subcommittees will seek assistance from the Expert Consulting Group working with and advising that committee or communicate those needs to state officials who will seek expert counsel. Regional Advisory Committee members are invited to participate in all expert presentations conducted by the state covering a variety and topics, and any learning collaboratives established to advance this work. These individuals are not official appointments to the RAC but may participate in discussions of the Subcommittee relevant to their area of expertise.



The Communication, Information Sharing & Public Messaging CESSA Subcommittee shall meet every 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, or as often as agreed to by members, through July 1, 2023, and at a time determined by the Chair and Co-Chairs. All members are expected to be prompt and prepared to fully participate in the proceedings.

All meetings of the Technical Advisory Committees shall be held in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act (5 ILC 129/1) requiring official minutes of proceedings, posted agendas and time for public comment.


Citizens are invited to provide public comments to the Committee as designated at the time noted on the agenda. Committee meetings are open to the public but are not meetings of the public. The purpose of the meetings is to conduct the business of the Committee and to provide the members an opportunity to discuss issues with each other and with those scheduled on the agenda. Time limits for public comment may to established to ensure equitable time for each speaker and to ensure scheduled Committee business can be completed in a reasonable time.


Subcommittee members agree to strive toward consensus on issues that may require a decision. When there is a disagreement, a vote will be conducted, and simple majority will rule. Only Subcommittee members can vote and when a substitute is attending on behalf of the primary member, the substitute may vote by proxy. A quorum, defined as a simple majority, must be present for any votes necessary to conduct the business of the Subcommittee.