Senate Bill (S1969): Note: This is NOT the “Ortiz Bill”
Mandates Mental Health Services in Schools
Robert Jackson (D, WF-31st Senate District)
Assumed office-January 1, 2019
Jackson is the chair of the Cities 1 committee as well as a member of the Civil Service and Pensions, Education, Higher Education, Housing, Construction and Community Development, Labor, New York City Education Committees.
Co-Sponsors: Alessandra Biaggi (D-34th Senate District), Samra G. Brouk
(D-55th Senate District), Jeremy A. Cooney (D-56th Senate District) Pete Harckham (D-40th Senate District)
AND Assembly Bill (A5019)
Primary Sponsor: Jessica González-Rojas (D,WF-Assembly District 34)
Assumed office-January 1, 2021
González-Rojas is a member of the Committee on Children and Families, the Committee on Cities, the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, the Committee on Environmental Conservation, and the Committee on Social Services. She is also a member of the Asian Pacific American Task Force; the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus; the Legislative Women’s Caucus; the Task Force on New Americans; the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force; and the Task Force on Women’s Issues.
Co-Sponsors: Chantel Jackson (D-Assembly District 79), Stefani Zinerman (D-Assembly District 56) , Rebecca Seawright (D-Assembly District 76) , Andrew Hevesi (D-Assembly District 28)
This bill is being supported by a number of other lawmakers including Senator Tim Kennedy. Current status as of 4/30/22 is “in education committee”. The bill purposes the following in relationship to mental health services in New York State public schools:
- Mandates mental health services in schools as provided by both a “school social worker” and a “school psychologist”.
- “School mental health services, as defined in subdivision two of this section, shall be provided by each school district for all students attending the public schools in this state, as provided in this article.”
- “School mental health services shall include the services of a school psychologist and school social worker, each of which shall be employed by the district.”
- Provisions for school mental health services will be provided by each district for all students attending public schools in the state. (Note: For smaller districts these “provisions” could include the use of BOCES, co-ops, inter-district partnerships, etc. )
- This act defines the scope of practice for a School Social Workers:
- It states that school mental health services provided by a licensed or certified school social worker shall include but not be limited to: Assessments, evaluations and psycho-social intervention plans that are designed to prevent and intervene to address mental, social, emotional, behavioral, developmental, and addictive disorders, conditions, and disabilities of the psycho-social aspects of illness and injuries experienced by the child.
- Services by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or those under proper supervision may also include diagnoses of mental, social, emotional, behavioral, developmental disorders and disabilities and the psycho-social aspect of illness, injury, disability and impairment.
- (See Section 1, Section 901, 2, b (ii) of the bill for specific language.)
- Language obtained from:
- The required mental health professionals will be in addition to those needed to implement the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- This act would take affect on the first of September next succeeding the date when it becomes law.
Senate Bill (S1062):
Mandates a licensed or certified social worker in every school.
Primary Sponsor: Andrew Gounardes (D, WF-22nd Senate District)
Co-Sponsors: Julie Salazar (D-18th Senate District), Kevin S. Parker (D-21st Senate District), Julia Salazar (D-18th Senate District)
This bill does not currently have an assembly component and is NOT a revision of the Ortiz bill. Current status as of 4/30/22 is “in education committee”. The bill purposes the following in relationship to school social workers in New York State:
Section 1: The Education Law is amended by adding a new section 803-B
- ” Social workers licensed under article one hundred fifty-four of this chapter or certified pursuant to rules and regulations established by the department, required in elementary, intermediate, middle, junior high and senior high schools.”
- “The board of education or trustees of every public school district in the state shall on and after July first, two thousand twenty-one employ and provide access to at least one licensed or certified school social worker in each of the schools under their jurisdiction exclusive of any school social workers funded or mandated through any special education funding, aid, regulation or statute.”
- “Such licensed or certified school social worker shall perform such duties within their lawful scope of practice.”
Section 1: The Education Law is amended by adding a new section 803-B
News for Licensed Clinical Social Workers Regarding the NYS Workers’ Compensation System
“A new law signed as part of Governor Cuomo’s 2019-2020 budget allows more types of medical providers to treat injured workers. Starting January 1, 2020, licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), nurse practitioners, acupuncturists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physician assistants can be authorized to treat workers’ compensation patients. This is great news for injured workers and providers alike — injured workers will have improved access to quality health care and medical providers can expand their practices.”
Senate Bill (S1062):
Mandates a School Social Worker in Every School
Primary Sponsor: Andrew Gounardes (D, WF-22nd Senate District)
Co-Sponsors: Jabari Brisport (D-25th Senate District), Kevin S. Parker (D-21st Senate District), Julia Salazar (D-18th Senate District)
General Assembly Bill (A09533):
Primary Sponsor: Assemblyman Félix Ortiz
Ortiz bill (Now inactive bill related to the social worker in every school initiative) This bill was introduced in and sponsor by assemblyman Ortiz: there are several important points that this bill mandates:
- To make sure all public school districts employ social workers: “School mental health services, as defined in subdivision two of this section, shall be provided by each school district for all students attending the public schools in this state, as provided in this article. School mental health services shall include the services of a school psychologist and school social worker, each of which shall be employed by the district.”
- To establish school social workers as mental health care professionals: “As used in this article, “mental health professionals” shall mean certified school psychologists and certified or licensed school social workers duly authorized to provide mental health services pursuant to applicable law.”
- To define the scope of services they provide: “School mental health services provided by licensed or certified school social workers for the purposes of this article shall mean the several procedures and services including, but not limited to, assessments, evaluations and psycho-social intervention plans that are designed to prevent and intervene to address mental, social, emotional, behavioral, developmental, and addictive disorders, conditions, and disabilities of the psycho-social aspect of illness and injuries experienced by the child.”
- To reaffirm the necessity of school social workers as mandated by not only the ESSA but also the IDEA: “The mental health professionals required herein shall be in addition to such personnel as necessary to implement the provisions of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as amended.”
2019 -2020 Bills
As you can imagine, 2020 was focused on COVID-19. We had sincerely hoped for the passage of the Ortiz Bill in 2019 which guarantees every school age child in NYS access to a district employed, licensed, School Social Worker; but it did not happen. The Legislature continues to debate about how to make our schools safer without recognizing the need for adding preventative services. We did, however, get a Senate sponsor which is encouraging and we continue to advocate and work toward the passage of the bill.
February 12, 2018 Press Conference
On February 12, 2018 NY Assembly Assistant Speaker Félix W. Ortiz (D-Kings) and NY Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn) held a press conference with leaders of the New York State School Social Workers’ Association, as well as the National Association of Social Workers-New York State and New York City Chapters to introduce legislation, Bill A09533, that requires access to “at least one full-time licensed or certified school social worker to be employed in each elementary, intermediate, middle, junior high school and senior high school” in New York State.
Ortiz stated: “Certified social workers are the ‘gatekeepers’ for our youth, adolescents, and young adults’ education to help guide their future successes. Many of these students face problems that require professional help. Early intervention is the most effective way to prevent difficulties later in life.” Senator Hamilton noted: “Mental health, emotional health and wellness all matter to educating our children. A parent fearing eviction, violence at home or in the community, any number of circumstances can impact a child’s ability to learn. School social workers have the expertise to help children, help families, and help our communities address these needs.” See:
- Joint NYSSSWA & NASW Press Release
- Message from NYSSSWA’s President
- NYS Social Workers and Legislators Unite to Pass School Social Work Bill
- Interview with Assemblyman Félix Ortiz & Peg Barrett, NYSSSWA President
- Spanish Interview with Assemblyman Félix Ortiz & Evelyn Bautista Miller, Bilingual School Social Worker https://drive.google.com/open?
- Thank you letter from NY Assembly Assistant Speaker Félix W. Ortiz
Candida Brooks Harrison, NASW-NYC President Elect
Peg Barrett, NYSSSWA President
Evelyn Bautista Miller, NYSSSWA Member & Bilingual SSW
Samantha Howell, NASW-NY Executive Director
Assistant Speaker Assemblyman Félix Ortiz,
Hai-Ping Yeh, NYSSSWA Past President
Kelly Hannon Nichols, NYSSSWA Legislative Chair
AO1132: Sponsor, Rosenthal
SO00692: Sponsor, Ortt
Provides for the licensure of school psychologists; authorizes the use of the title “school psychologist” to licensed or exempt individuals; defines practice as a school psychologist; sets forth requirements for professional licensure (including educational attainment, experience, exam and fee); provides for issuance of limited permits under specified circumstances; identifies exempt persons.
A08114: Sponsor, Fahy
SP9074: Sponsor, Tedisco
Relates to an acting Jacobe’s law in relation to requiring school administrators to contact the parents or guardians of students when bullying or harassment has occurred. NYSSWA was active in helping to shape this bill allowing for professional judgment protecting students in certain incidences of harassment or bullying and discrimination when students do not express health safety or privacy concerns.
A03873: Sponsor, Nolan
S03036: Sponsor, Montgomery
Relates to school climate and codes of conduct on school property and resulting disciplinary action following violation of such codes of conduct. NYSSSWA supports restorative practices and had an active role on this legislation as well as worked to have individualized responses for students.
Grades 6-12 Health Classes to Teach Mental Health Awareness:
On October, 3rd 2017, the Governor signed a historic Bill A03887 requiring that all health classes 6-12 teach mental health in health education classes. John Richter, Director of Public Policy at MHANYS, commented that “we possess the knowledge and tools necessary to increase awareness in young people about mental health, how to recognize when someone’s in distress, or crisis, and how to get help.” Advocates and many experts believe that teaching the facts about mental health and openly discussing the issues with students will lessen the stigma surrounding mental illness.
In working with the Advisory Board group on how to roll out the legislation, we are aware that many, if not all, of the Health teachers around New York State are teaching some form of mental health instruction already. This legislation serves to offer a more uniform and concise standard for what should be taught and sets up a state-wide regional resource center for teachers which will offer curriculum lessons.
During instruction, teachers will need support with questions that may arise from students needing help or self-disclosing that they or a family member is coping with mental health issues. This legislation offers a unique opportunity for School Social Workers around the state to act as consultants to Health teachers and PPS Directors about curriculum programs. More importantly, as licensed, clinical mental health professionals in schools, we are in a position to provide assessment and direct services to students needing assistance within the school. We also have the clinical background and knowledge of community resources to assist with brokering and linking families to appropriate community services.
Peg Barrett, Board President, and Kelly Hannon Nichols, Legislative Committee Chair, have continued to represent NYSSSWA on the Advisory Board. In July, 2018 the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released Mental Health Education Literacy in Schools: Linking to a Continuum of Well Being Comprehensive Guide 2018 (80 pages)
School Social Workers are encouraged to become familiar with this legislation as well as NYSED’s Guide. Introduce yourselves to your Health teachers and let them know you will make yourself available if they need assistance. This is a unique partnership where we can present ourselves as critical members of the mental health team as well as increase our involvement and visibility to support and assist instructional staff, children and the school community.
A01132: Sponsor Rosenthal
S00692: Sponsor Ortt
Provides for the licensure of school psychologists;
S S07101: Sponsor: Hamilton
New York Senate Bill S07101 sponsored by Senator Hamilton requiring a Licensed Social Worker in every school was introduced 3/28/16 and referred to the education committee.
A06763: Sponsor: Ortiz
A similar bill was introduced in the NYS Assembly by Assemblyman Ortiz
A00420: Sponsor: Rosenthal
The New York State Assembly is currently considering a bill that would offer licensure to School Psychologists. January 2015 and 2016 this was referred to higher education. The full text can be found:
S04995: Sponsor: Flanagan
The New York State Senate is currently considering a bill that would offer licensure to School Psychologists. January 2015 and 2016 this was referred to higher education. the full text can be found:
SOA5131: Sponsor: Ortiz
Requires at least one full-time guidance counselor to be employed in each elementary, intermediate, middle, junior and senior high school throughout the state; sets duties of guidance counselors.
A9938-A: Sponsor: Nolan Co-Sponsor: Sepulveda
S07611-A: Sponsor: Marcellino
Requires the commissioner of education to promulgate regulations to include school mental health practitioners in a certificate valid for pupil personnel services.