First state lawmakers approve strengthening mental health resources in schools
State lawmakers passed a law to improve mental health services at First State Schools last week.
The law requires elementary schools to hire more counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and school social workers for grades K-5.
It also changes the counselor-to-student ratio, allowing 250 full-time students for each counselor and 700 students for each psychologist while prioritizing disadvantaged students and students with special needs.
State Sen. Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes) is a co-sponsor, and he says this bill is helping more than the students.
“And we need more school psychologists, not just for our children, but simply in our communities,” said Lopez. “Now, when we talk about 30-year jobs for the next generation of Delaware people, this law gives us the ability to stay in the state for Delaware State University graduates, University of Delaware graduates, and Delaware school graduates want to work with children to become a school psychologist. “
State Sen. Marie Pinkney (D-New Castle) is a legislator, and she says the move will allow teachers to focus on their primary role.
“This law will allow you to forge these relationships, but also the ability in your classroom to continue to focus on educating the students, what you have spent throughout your career and devoted to your career while partnering with someone else you have to deal with these real emotions, these real situations that all of your students are going through, “said Pinkney.” So this law is really going to have some amazing effects. “
The hiring of consultants and psychologists takes place over a period of three years.
Legislation awaits Governor Carney’s signature.