Rep. Kazarian and Sen. Satchell’s ‘RI School Social Workers Quality Assessment Act’ signed into law
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) and Sen. Adam J. Satchell’s (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) legislation (2018-H 7685 / 2018-S 2052) that creates a process for the Department of Education to collect and organize information concerning the workload and scope of the duties and responsibilities performed by school social workers was signed into law by the governor.
“We need to invest more in our children. This bill would work to make sure our children are receiving the help that they need in order to develop and learn properly,” said Representative Kazarian. “This legislation specifically answers the question of how many social workers do we need in our schools and their role with children, families, schools and medical professionals. They are a crucial line of defense in preventing tragic events from taking place within our schools and we need to make sure we are utilizing their services properly and adequately for our kids.”
“At my school, we have 1,100 kids and one social worker. We have such a high number of kids with social and emotional needs resulting from poverty, trauma, transience and other challenges. No one person can possibly meet such tremendous needs. And if she’s absent when an emergency occurs, we have to pull someone from another similarly understaffed school. This is happening all over Rhode Island,” said Senator Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick). “The state makes districts responsible for creating a supportive and nurturing environment that provides adequate psychological, mental health and social services, but leaves districts to pay for social workers. Districts are already struggling to pay for basic educational services, so funding for social workers falls far, far short of what is needed.”
The legislation calls for the Department of Education to develop a standard measure which will identify the number of school social workers in the state and the nature and scope of the work and services they provide. More specifically, the department shall collect information regarding prevention and intervention services; counselor services assessments; consultation; parent and community liaison; attempts to reduce violence, referrals and collaboration; and promoting adherence to federal mandates, involvement in school activities and training.
Municipalities would be required to compile and forward information to the Department of Education concerning the number of social assessments completed; the number of family contacts, the number of staff meetings attended; the number of community contacts; the number of teacher consultation contacts; the number of functional behavioral assessments completed; the number of individualized educational plan meetings attended; the number of individual counseling sessions; and the number of group counseling sessions.
The legislation calls on the Department of Education to compile a report on the matter that shall be delivered to the General Assembly by January of 2020.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903