On Friday, April 22, 2022, a bipartisan Connecticut State Senate passed Senate Bill 2, an act expanding preschool and mental and behavioral services for children.
Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) who is the ranking member on the legislative public health and insurance committees spoke in support of SB 2, which is the culmination of two long years of increased leadership and activism on children’s education and mental health supports.
SB 2 requires that every Board of Education identify a “Family Care Coordinator” to assist school social workers and psychologists by serving as a liaison with local mental health care resources/providers to help give students access to the care they need.
“This measure to better support children’s mental health is a bipartisan, community collaborative act to begin the difficult task of reversing the trends of the increasing needs of mental health support and intervention,” said State Senator Tony Hwang, Sen. Hwang has been a vocal advocate for in-person learning and local control over masking mandates since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Statistics were on the rise well before the onset of the pandemic, but the Covid-driven disruption, isolation and uncertainty have wreaked havoc on these precious childhood years that too many of our children have missed out on,” said Senator Hwang. “Whether at school or through their healthcare providers, the state of Connecticut must do a better job of connecting children to important resources, and SB 2 is a good start to making the necessary changes to support Connecticut’s future.”
“There has been a true and necessary call to destigmatize and increase the awareness of the wide array and severity of mental health challenges which children face. To increase our research and data, this bill creates a study, to be completed by the University of Connecticut, to examine the impact of social media on children. Also, this bill implements a 50-person Children’s Behavioral Health Cabinet to assess children’s behavioral health services in the state, make recommendations for improvements, and ensure timely access to services for children who need these services. Communications will be better as we will increase parental communications and notifications required to be made by Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood.” said Senator Hwang. “And, most importantly, this bill provides many measures to help children needing mental health support both in building awareness and expanding access to services. Mobile crisis services will be enhanced and broadened to bring counseling to more children at home or at school. Finally, it will implement a pilot behavioral health program expansion of federally qualified health centers to expand needed mental health services.”
SB 2 now heads to the Connecticut State House of Representatives for their consideration. The House will need to take up the bill ahead of the session’s adjournment on May 4, 2022.