Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director, Kentucky Youth Advocates
LOUISVILLE, KY – We’re celebrating today as the Kentucky House has passed Senate Bill 102, sponsored by Senator Max Wise, to help ensure there is an adequate number of school-based mental health providers to serve students in need of supports.
Even before the isolation and other challenges brought forth by the pandemic, children across the Commonwealth struggled with their mental health – a fact that generated the important efforts to improve student safety and well-being and ensure schools approached students with a trauma-informed lens. This is especially critical as over one in five Kentucky children have experienced at least two Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
Every student can succeed academically when provided trauma-informed and supportive school environments and access to sufficient resources. SB 102 will require schools to provide a yearly census of school-based mental health providers to determine if the ratios of providers to students is meeting the mark. Within one of today’s floor amendments, the measure now also allows a mental health practitioner to provide a note for a student’s absence due to their mental health.
We thank Senator Wise for championing this measure and continuing to bring student safety and resiliency to the top of legislators’ minds. We also thank the House for prioritizing the well-being of Kentucky students with passage of SB 102, and ask the Senate to concur with the measure so the Governor can sign it into law. As the Conference Committee continues to deliberate on the state budget, we hope to see an increase in funding for school-based behavioral health services.
Stay up-to-date on Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities and other bills that are good for kids on our Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.