Kathy Castor Introduces the Advancing Student Services in Schools Today Act

This week, the United States Rep. Kathy BeaverD-Fla., presented the “Advancing Student Services in Schools Today (ASSIST) Act.”

Castor’s office explained some of the reasons she submitted the proposal late last week.

“Our children are in crisis. This is not a new problem, but one that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19[feminine] pandemic,” Castor’s office noted. “This bill would establish a new subsidy initiative for Department of Health and Social Services hire and retain mental health and addictions service providers in schools. Bill includes 90 percent increase in federal spending Medical help matching funds to pay for these services, allowing states to increase the rate of remuneration of these providers in a sustainable way.

“The current state of child and adolescent mental health is a national emergency, and we need urgent action to expand capacity to provide appropriate care to meet the mental and behavioral health needs of children,” Castor said. “Providing services to children where they are improves mental health outcomes and reduces substance use disorders in youth. I’ve heard from students, parents, and providers in the Tampa Bay area that the significant shortage of mental health care providers is preventing our neighbors from getting the essential care they need. The ASSIST Act would help remove the cost barrier for child care providers in schools, with a sustainable funding mechanism to provide effective services to our nation’s youth. This is a common sense measure to keep our youngest neighbors safe, healthy and engaged at school and in their community. »

the American Federation of Teachersthe American Psychological Associationthe National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Project Trevor and Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund are among dozens of groups supporting the proposal.

“AFT educators and school staff have seen first-hand the mental health issues facing students. Far too many children and teens struggle with social isolation, depression, or experience the trauma of losing a loved one, whether to COVID, gun violence, or other trauma . Now more than ever, our children need dedicated support, including counsellors, social workers and school psychologists that they often can only access at school. I thank Rep. Castor for introducing the ASSIST Act, which will increase the number of mental health professionals in schools, and urge its consideration and passage,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.

“As schools continue their efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19 on their students, including in relation to their social and emotional well-being, it is essential to increase school mental health services – where shortages existed even before the pandemic. The American Psychological Association supports the ASSIST Act and applauds Rep. Castor’s efforts to provide sustainable funding to ensure more schools can hire and retain mental and behavioral health providers, both in response to COVID-19 and long term,” said Arthur Evans, CEO of the American Psychological Association.

Castor’s invoice was sent to the United States House Energy and Commerce Committee. So far, there is no additional action in the US Senate and she has not brought in any co-sponsors in the US House.

Kevin Derby
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