Senate passes Cano’s bill requiring state funding for school mental health services
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation (2022-S 2440) sponsored by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) which would provide state funding for school-based mental health services.
“Children and educators need our help and support to address the growing mental health concerns of our students. The pandemic has also brought about several new mental health challenges for our kids so there needs to be dedicated funding to ensure that their mental health needs are met and sustained. By supporting students’ mental health needs, we will help them come to school better prepared to learn, providing them with the opportunities that they deserve to set them on the path for lifelong success,” said Senator Cano
The bill states that the permanent foundation educational aid program would provide state funding for school-based mental health services. For a period of three years, local education agencies (LEAs) shall receive direct state support for costs associated with hiring mental and behavioral health professionals, including, but not limited to, certified school psychologists, certified social workers, or certified counselors. After accounting for any federal funds or federal, state or local grants received toward the costs associated with such a position, LEAs shall be reimbursed an amount equal to one-half of the cost of salaries and benefits that remain the LEA's responsibility.
The bill now heads to the House for consideration where Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) has introduced the legislation (2022-H 7473).