On the evening of Wednesday, April 1, Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian’s (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) bill, 2015-H 5495, was heard before the House Committee on Health, Education & Welfare in the House Lounge of the State House.
“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 Rep. Kazarian. “This legislation specifically calls for more social workers in our schools because they are licensed by the Department of Health and have clinical training. Their role is defined as a link between children, families, schools and medical professionals. They are literally the last line of defense in preventing tragic events from taking place within our schools.”
Rep. Kazarian’s bill would require at least one full-time certified school social worker for every 400 students within a school. Last year, the School Social Work Association of America endorsed a model which recommends one social worker for every 250 students. Currently, Rhode Island’s Board of Regents Regulations for Elementary & Secondary Education Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities only requires a school district with 2,500 enrolled students to employ one full-time social worker.
“School shootings are all too common these days. We need to do a better job of providing services that will prevent such horrific events from ever happening again,” added Rep. Kazarian.