Urgent: New York School Social Work Advocacy Needed

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December 14, 2016

Dear Members and Colleagues:

As you know, we as school social workers have watched the progression of the proposed school counseling amendments to the Commissioner’s regulations Part 80 section 52.21 and 100.2(j) with interest and concern. Our combined advocacy during the public comment period last February, resulted in many significant changes, but, there is still work to be done and time is short.

There are two documents that we have reviewed. The first is what the  New York State Education Department finalized on  November 10th and  presented  at the Board of Regents P-12 Education/Higher Education Joint Meeting on November 14th,2016.

http://www.regents.nysed.gov./common/regents/files/1116p12hed1.pdf

NYSSSWA believes that of greatest significance, and in need of public comment,  is 100.2(j) (2) (i) (c) (found on page 41). The entire paragraph states “School counseling/guidance core curriculum instruction aimed at addressing student competencies related to career/college readiness and social/emotional development by a certified school counselor(s).”

This language is not found in the second document, which is what was released for public comment, but we believe that it is part of the proposed amendments.

This is the link to the second document-

http://docs.dos.ny.gov/info/register/2016/nov30/pdf/rulemaking.pdf

What is found in both documents is-

“other direct student services which may include, but need not be limited to responsive services, crisis response, group counseling, individual counseling, appraisal, assessment, and advisement, for the purpose of enabling students to benefit from the curriculum, assisting students to develop and implement post-secondary education and career plans, assisting students who exhibit attendance ,academic, behavioral or adjustment  concerns and encourage parental involvement. Provided that nothing herein shall prohibit certified or licensed school psychologists or certified or licensed school social workers pursuant to Part 80 of the Commissioner’s regulations from providing other direct student services within their applicable scope of practice.”

This last sentence contradicts (c). This statement supports what we do, allows us to continue providing instruction in social/emotional development. This was New York State Education Department’s response to our concerns raised during the last comment period.

NYSSSWA recommends that (c) be removed or that “social/emotional development” be removed from (c) and added to (d) on page 41 of the first document which clarifies that it is a domain that can be addressed by multiple, qualified professions.

NYSSSWA, along with NASW, will be advocating supporting the delivery of social and emotional instruction and supports, by a diverse team of qualified professionals who best meet the students’ needs.

There is a secondary concern we have regarding Part 80 of the Commissioner’s Regulations relating to school counseling, certification requirements for school counselors and program registration requirements for school counseling preparation programs, school counseling certification. In Section 83.11, it allows for school counseling interns to be supervised by a qualified person other than a certified school counselor, in situations where no certified school counselor is available to supervise.

NYSSSWA, as an association, will not be formally addressing this concern in our letter to the Board of Regents. NYSSSWA members  may wish to comment on this as individuals.   It is the belief of many that if a school counselor cannot be found to provide direct supervision, the placement is not appropriate, and another placement with supervision should be found. School social workers do not have the school counselor framework of reference in their educational program and therefore should not be providing said supervision. SSW supervision of a school counseling intern further muddies the boundaries between disciplines and can infringe on the scope of practice.

More inclusive discussion and changes made to the prior proposal occurred because over 1000 letters of objection were received. We know that our membership and outreach played a critical role in getting us to this point.

The next two weeks are the time for you to make your individual voices heard on what may be the final opportunity for influencing the outcome of the proposed amendments.

Address your e-mails and letters to Regent members.  (See Board of Regents Directory) .

Please let NYSSSWA know about your advocacy efforts.

Together, we can make a difference for our students, our families, and our profession.

Best.

Peg Barrett, President on behalf of the NYSSSWA Board
New York State School Social Workers’ AssociationFor further information contact: info@nyssswa.org or http://www.nyssswa.org