More than one million Coloradans experience mental health or a substance use crisis each year
(Apr. 25) – The House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would 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.
“We know that services provided sooner rather than later have greater results. Imagine a situation where the social worker engages with the family and identifies safety net insecurities and follows up with wrap-around services,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “The social workers can check-in and prevent an emotional cycle that may go out of control. Support is provided sooner rather than later, and no child slips through the cracks.”
HB19-1017 asks the Department of Education to find a pilot district that meets the characteristics including high poverty, ethnic diversity, and a large concentration of students in the foster care system. Within that district, one social worker for every 250 students in the school will be readily available to those students throughout their elementary period.
The bill passed on a voice-vote and will receive a final vote at a later date.