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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.

Associated Press,

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