LB998 by Fremont Sen. Lynne Walz would create the Collaborative School Behavioral and Mental Health Program in Nebraska’s 19 Educational Service Units. Under the plan, a social worker will staff each ESU and would connect students with local mental health and behavioral health services. The social worker would meet with families, assess needs, identify barriers to services, and assist with making connections to resources that exist within the community.
Behavioral and mental health needs of students are frequently identified in a school setting and affect the ability of teachers to teach and the ability of students to learn. Superintendents, principals, and other school personnel in Nebraska ranked the availability of people to provide behavioral and mental health services as the number one support need for schools in 2017.
The creation of a collaborative school behavioral and mental health program with initiatives in each educational service unit would give schools needed support in the most efficient manner in order to promote classroom learning and prevent student involvement in the child welfare system or the juvenile justice system.
The program will also compile and make available a comprehensive directory of those services for schools. The program will be funded by public-private partnerships, minimizing the cost.
The findings of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make it clear that childhood experiences have a tremendous impact on lifelong health, wellness, and opportunity
ACTION NEEDED! LB998 is scheduled for an Education Committee hearing on Monday, Feb. 12th. Sen. Walz asks that letters of support be sent to her office prior to the hearing to show senators that they need to take behavioral and mental health in schools seriously and to support LB998! She seeks letters from teachers, special education directors, mental health professionals, social workers, etc. Her mailing address is:
Sen. Lynne Walz
State Capitol Building
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509