March 4, 2010

Whitehouse Bill Designating School Social Work Week Passes Senate

Congressman Kennedy has Introduced Companion Resolution in House

Washington, DC – In an effort to honor the contributions of school social workers to our country’s young people, the U.S. Senate today passed a resolution designating this week, the first week in March, as School Social Work Week. The resolution was introduced by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

“It is important to recognize the enormous change that dedicated, involved adults can make in the lives of our students,” said Whitehouse. “School social workers provide vital counseling services and help give children the tools they need to succeed in the classroom.”

Congressman Patrick Kennedy has introduced a similar resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives. “A child’s mental and emotional state will certainly impact his or her ability to learn,” said Kennedy. “It is imperative that students have access to timely and appropriate counseling and services. School social workers fill this critical role, working to make sure that children have to the tools and resources they need to succeed in the classroom.”

Though more than 17 million children are in need of mental health services, less than 1 in 5 receives adequate care. School mental health programs help identify and diagnose mental health problems early, and provide services to support young people.

According to the School Social Workers Association of America, about 5 percent of the nation’s 600,000 professionally trained social workers work in public school settings. Approximately 140 school social workers work in Rhode Island’s public and private schools.

School social workers provide services to students who face challenges with abuse, disability, addiction, and other barriers to learning. They can also help address truancy, another pervasive problem for schools across the country. Students who skip school are at an increased risk for substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, and school dropout.

These resolutions encourage students, parents and communities across the nation to participate in ceremonies and activities that promote awareness of the vital role of school social workers in schools and in the community.


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