Mental Health Legislation Reintroduced

Now that we have begun the new 114th Congress, it is time to roll out and reintroduce many of the bills from last Congress that support the role of school social workers and mental health services in the schools. Among these is the Representative Grace Napolitano’s (D-CA) Mental Health in Schools Act (H.R. 1211). This Act would provide on-site mental health services for students.

A number of other bills continue to be introduced on issues of preventive discipline, providing positive behavioral supports, and a number of other worthy-of-support proposals. SSWAA will continue to work with the members of Congress who support these ideals and will seek to have this language included in the Senate ESEA package. In the meantime, we have a tremendous opportunity to Make our Voices Heard this summer at the SSWAA Leadership and Legislative Institute. Join us in Washington for advocacy and legislative training. Then take your voice to the Hill and help us better inform our federal legislators and their staffs.

Nicole Stacey, MSW, ACSW, LISW-S
President, OSSWA

Effective School Staffing Model:

Teaming School Counselors, School Psychologists, and School Social Workers

A teaming statement from SSWAA, ASCA and NASP JOINT teaming statement.

A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools

A joint statement from the American School Counselor Association, National Association of School Psychologists, School Social Work Association of America, National Association of School Resource Officers, National Association of Elementary School Principals and National Association of Secondary School Principals.

A Framework For Safe and Successful Schools

HB 334 and Companion Bill SB 239 Position Statement

Bill 334 passed the house this week and the language changed to include psychologists, school psychologists and psychiatrists. At this time it does not include any social worker, not even a mental health counselor. This is a big opportunity to get school social work into a piece of Ohio legislation.
Read the HB 334 Position Statement
Dear Colleague Letter HB 334 SB 239

Contact your representatives. Senators and Congressman on the Education Committees are the most influential on this bill.
Information about how to contact the committee members will follow soon.

March 2013 Moore recognizes SSW week

NEA Letter to Biden
February 2013: Moore reintroduces SSWISSA
SSWISSA letter to legislators- ACTION NEEDED
January 2013 ACSSW Position Statement on School Shootings
How to: Getting Your Message Across to Congress
November 2012 Restraint and Seclusion
October 2012 ElectionAreyoureadytovote
NASWendorses…OSSWA Presidential Position Chart
June 2012 NDD Summit
March 2012 ESSC
February 2012 President Investing in Education
Full statement released 2/14/2012
President’s Education Budget 2013

February 2012
Chairman Kline today formally introduced his two ESEA bills: The

Student Success Act (H.R. 3989)

February 2012
Remove Red Tape for Homeless Children

January 2012 NASW Ohio
supports HHS levy

January 2012 Ohio
Mid-Biennium budget review

November 2011 Eleven states have applied thus far for ESEA waivers. To view their applications, go to
November 2011 Senator Harkinon ESEA bill
October 2011 ESEA Reauthorization Bill
October 2011 Teachers and First Responders back to work
August 2011 Obama on NCLB
August 2011 Vote NO on Issue 2
2011 NASW Standards for School Social Work Services Final Draft 7-1-11

July 2011 Congressional Social Work Caucus
May 2011 NAPSO Supports Reducing Barriers to Learning Act
April 2011 SSW Improving Student Success Act
February 2011 Keep mental health services in Cleveland

OSSWA supports schools having access to highly qualified school social workers in alignment with ESEA and IDEIA. School social workers are master level professionals who have completed the requirements of an ODE approved graduate school social work program in Ohio. They have earned licensure (LSW or LISW) from the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board and a Professional Pupil Services License from the Ohio Department of Education. The Ohio Department of Education eliminated consultants for pupil services providers in the 1990’s. Since that time, there has been little support for including state pupil services organizations in developing policy , supporting the hiring of the professions at the local district level, devising standards or professional development for the professions. OSSWA supports the Ohio Department of Education in conducting a study to determine the status of critical shortages of Ohio school social workers and pupil service providers. Pupil services providers were eliminated from the definition of `teacher’ in the Ohio Revised Code in the 1990’s.

Since that time, support for pupil service providers and related services providers at the Ohio Department of Education has significantly declined. Ohio has not routinely included state pupil services organizations in developing policy, as have more progressive states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa. As a result, funding and local support for pupil services has deteriorated. Lack of support at the district level contributes to difficulty with teacher retention. In Ohio’s Part B Performance report of 2004, ODE `did not ensure the availability of an adequate supply of qualified related services personnel to provide a free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities.’ Pupil Services Providers, as defined in the Elementary and Secondary Counseling Education Act, are` School Professional Personnel who provide assessment, diagnosis, counseling, educational, therapeutic, and other necessary services (including related services defined in IDEA) and focus on meeting
student’s needs’. Related Services, as described in Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, are `services that assist a student with a disability. Services include speech-language & hearing services, psychological services, OT/PT, recreation, early identification & assessment of disabilities, counseling services, orientation & mobility services, and medical services, school health services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling & training as specified on a student’s IEP.’ OSSWA supports the development of Ohio School Social Work Standards and Standards for other Pupil Personnel Services Providers consistent with current teacher and principal standards. In 2004, the Ohio General Assembly created an Educator Standards Board through Senate Bill 2. The legislature charged the board with bringing standards-based reform to the educator level by defining standards for teachers and principals at all stages of their careers, and delineating criteria for high-quality professional development. The Educator Standards Board has developed state standards for teachers and principals at all stages of their careers; formulated standards for educator professional development; created a career ladder, is defining and currently working on developing master teacher criteria, will be monitoring
implementation of the created standards and recommending policies to close achievement gaps among groups of students. Students, families and teachers should have the same expectation of excellence for the pupil services providers that work on their behalf.

Pupil services providers should also have the same expectation of rigorous state standards prescribed professional development, a career ladder, and expectations that through evidence based interventions, teachers and students will be more able to close the achievement gap. OSSWA supports the development and implementation of Social Emotional Learning Standards to support state academic standards. The Collaborative for Academic, Emotional and Social Learning (CASEL) was founded in 1994 by Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence
and educator/ philanthropist Eileen Rockefeller Growald. It is based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). CASEL works to advance the science and evidence-based practice of social and emotional learning (SEL).

The group produces books, articles, and briefs that synthesize scientific advances in SEL and explain their implications for practice. CASEL priorities focus on the benefits of preschool through high school SEL programming; how SEL coordinates with other educational movements; research and training in implementation; assessment; school and district leadership development; educational policies; and communications. The
Illinois State Board of Education has adopted Social Emotional Learning Standards. While Ohio has developed School Climate Guidelines, the development of state Social Emotional Learning Standards would ensure provision of evidence-based programming shown to decrease violence in schools that implement such curriculum. OSSWA supports inclusion of school social workers in the implementation of the ISM model via State Support Teams.
SSTs address district’s condition and climates by providing support for creating safe learning climates, establishing community partnerships, engaging parents and communities, and developing supportive learning environments.

School social workers are uniquely able to address non-academic barriers to student success because of their training, experience, and person-environment orientation. At the Prevention level, interventions target all students within a school system and seek to comprehensively address such issues as school climate, bullying, discrimination, and suicide/violence prevention. At the Early Intervention Level, interventions target at-risk students within a school system and seek to mitigate barriers separating these individuals from their peers. Examples of at-risk students include those indicated for special education, needing behavioral supports, or who are at high risk for delinquency. Programs addressing sexual health, drug and alcohol use, issues related to poverty and teen
pregnancy are just a few examples. At the Intervention/Treatment level, interventions target students who struggle with a particular, identified need. Crisis intervention, direct counseling services, homelessness services, de-escalation, behavioral intervention plans and linkages for employment, mental health and drug/alcohol services are just a few examples. Across all levels, school social workers play an invaluable role in service coordination. School social workers work collaboratively with students, parents, teachers, administrators, law enforcement, government agencies, and other pupil services professionals to ensure students are provided comprehensive supports. OSSWA supports the development and implementation of a statewide student information management system that can be accessed by all school districts. With significant safeguards put in place to protect student privacy, a statewide information system would support students who are transient or homeless. Schools would be able to have immediate access to records and IEPs for students of families who, due to poverty, loss of job, or domestic violence experience transiency. Interventions and supports would be implemented immediately upon enrollment in the new school.

Additional Resources

UCF alumna Marie Armantrout speaks about her job as a school social worker. »
View Video 2006-2007 Student Support Services Task Force Summary Report
View Report