(May 10) – Gov. Polis signed Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet’s bill today at North Middle School that will increase access to mental health services for children. Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet’s bill would create a pilot program that provides a social worker in participating schools to follow kids from kindergarten to fifth grade.

“Our hearts break for the victims of the shooting in Highlands Ranch and their families.

We know that our students need more access to mental health services and we know that services provided sooner rather than later yield greater results,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “Social workers can check-in and prevent an emotional cycle that may spiral out of control. This new law will help ensure support is provided sooner rather than later, and no child falls through the cracks.”

HB19-1017 asks the Department of Education to select up to 10 pilot schools that meet the necessary characteristics, including high poverty, ethnic diversity, and a large concentration of students in the foster care system. One social worker for every 250 students in the schools will be readily available to those students throughout their elementary period.

This bill, also sponsored by Sen. Rhonda Fields, was approved in the Senate with bipartisan support, and passed in the House on a vote of 40-23.

The Governor also signed another bill to ensure Colorado’s children have more security and safety in the food they eat.

HB19-1171, sponsored by Rep. Michaelson Jenet, would expand school meal programs. When students skip meals it affects their academic performance. Colorado currently pays a forty-cent copay on reduced price lunches for K-8 students through the School Lunch Protection Program. The bill would expand copay coverage through high school.

Rep. Michaelson Jenet was the co-prime sponsor of a new law last year that expanded the school meal program to grades 6-8.

HB19-1171 passed with bipartisan support in the House and the Senate.

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