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H.R. 6214: Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act


The text of the bill below is as of Dec 9, 2021 (Introduced).


I

117th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 6214

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

December 9, 2021

(for herself, Mrs. Hayes, Mr. Lieu, Ms. Sánchez, and Ms. Underwood) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor

A BILL

To effectively staff the high-need public elementary schools and secondary schools of the United States with school-based mental health services providers.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

One in 5 children ages 13 through 18 has, or will have, a serious mental illness.

(2)

11 percent of youth have a mood disorder, 10 percent of youth have a behavior or conduct disorder, and 8 percent of youth have an anxiety disorder.

(3)

50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. 37 percent of students with a mental health condition age 14 and older drop out of school, which is the highest school dropout rate of any disability group.

(4)

70 percent of youth in State and local juvenile systems have a mental illness.

(5)

Youth with access to mental health services in school-based health centers are 10 times more likely to seek care for mental health or substance abuse than youth without access.

(6)

The leading counseling, guidance, and mental health organizations, including the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Social Workers, and the School Social Work Association of America, recommend that schools maintain—

(A)

a maximum student to school counselor ratio of 250 to 1;

(B)

a maximum student to school psychologist ratio of 500 to 1; and

(C)

a maximum student to school social worker ratio of 250 to 1.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

ESEA Definitions

The terms elementary school, local educational agency, secondary school, State, and State educational agency have the meanings given the terms in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).

(2)

High-need school

The term high-need school has the meaning given the term in section 2211(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6631(b)).

(3)

School-based mental health services provider

The term school-based mental health services provider includes a State-licensed or State certified school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, community-based mental health provider organization, or other State licensed or certified mental health professional qualified under State law to provide mental health services to children and adolescents.

(4)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Education.

4.

Grants and subgrants

(a)

Program authorized

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall award formula grants, from allotments made under subsection (b), to State educational agencies to enable the State educational agencies to award subgrants to local educational agencies in order to increase access to school-based mental health services providers at high-need schools served by the local educational agencies.

(2)

Duration

A grant awarded under this section shall be for a 5-year period and may be renewed for additional 5-year periods upon a showing of adequate progress on meeting the goals of the grant, as determined by the Secretary.

(b)

Formula grants

(1)

In general

(A)

Formula

From the total amount made available under section 5 for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall allot to each such State that submits a complete application an amount that bears the same relationship to such total amount as the amount received under part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq.) by such State for such fiscal year bears to the amount received under such part for such fiscal year by all States.

(B)

Small state minimum

No State receiving an allotment under this paragraph shall receive less than one-half of 1 percent of the total amount allotted under this paragraph.

(2)

Matching requirements

In order to receive an allotment under this paragraph, a State shall agree to provide matching funds, in an amount equal to 20 percent of the amount of the allotment, toward the costs of the activities carried out under the grant.

(c)

Application

A State educational agency desiring a grant under this section shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require. Each application shall include, at a minimum—

(1)

a description of how the State educational agency will award subgrants to local educational agencies under subsection (d);

(2)

a description of how the State educational agency will disseminate, in a timely manner, information regarding the subgrants and the application process for such subgrants to local educational agencies; and

(3)

the ratios, as of the date of application, of students to school-based mental health services providers in each public elementary school and secondary school in the State, in the aggregate and disaggregated to include—

(A)

the ratios of students to school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers; and

(B)

as applicable, the ratios of students to other school-based mental health services providers not described in subparagraph (A), in the aggregate and disaggregated by type of provider.

(d)

Subgrants

(1)

In general

A State educational agency receiving a grant under this section shall use grant funds to award subgrants, on a competitive basis, to local educational agencies in the State, to enable the local educational agencies to—

(A)

employ school-based mental health services providers or contract with community mental health centers to work at high-need schools served by the local educational agency; and

(B)

work toward effectively staffing the high-need schools of the State with school-based mental health services providers, including by meeting the recommended maximum ratios of—

(i)

250 students per school counselor;

(ii)

500 students per school psychologist; and

(iii)

250 students per school social worker.

(2)

Priority

In awarding subgrants under this subsection, the State shall give priority to local educational agencies that serve a significant number of high-need schools.

(3)

Application

A local educational agency desiring a subgrant under this subsection shall submit an application to the State educational agency at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the State educational agency may require, including information on how the local educational agency will prioritize assisting high-need schools with the largest numbers or percentages of students from low-income families.

(e)

Grant and subgrant requirements

(1)

Supplement, not supplant

Amounts provided under a grant or subgrant under this section shall supplement, and not supplant, any other funds available to a State educational agency or local educational agency for school-based mental health services.

(2)

Combining funds allowed

A State educational agency receiving a grant under this section may combine funds made available under this section with State or local funds to carry out the activities described in subsection (d)(1).

(f)

Reports

(1)

Local educational agencies

A local educational agency that receives a subgrant under this section shall submit a report to the State on the activities carried out with the subgrant funds.

(2)

State

A State educational agency receiving a grant under this section shall annually prepare and submit a report to the Secretary that—

(A)

evaluates the progress made in achieving the purposes of the grant;

(B)

includes the most recent student to provider ratios, in the aggregate and disaggregated as provided in subsection (c)(3), for public elementary schools and secondary schools in the State that were assisted under the grant under this section; and

(C)

describes any other resources needed to meet the required recommended maximum student to school-based mental health services provider ratios.

(3)

Public availability

The Secretary shall make all reports submitted under this subsection available to the public, including through the website of the Department.

5.

Authorization of appropriations

In order to provide school-based mental health services providers in high-need schools in the States, there are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act—

(1)

$5,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2022; and

(2)

such sums as may be necessary for each succeeding fiscal year.