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10/28/2020 10:41 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30909
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 14, 2020 01:07 PM
From: Representative Bridget M. Kosierowski
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing a Loan Forgiveness Program for Mental Health School Professionals
 
Currently, Pennsylvania falls short of the recommended averages for the staffing of all mental health professionals serving students. As a result, many of the children across our Commonwealth do not have access to a school counselor, psychologist, or social worker when they may most need it. Some experts have even cited this lack of access as the cause for Pennsylvania having the third-highest student arrest rate in the United States.

In an effort to protect the emotional and physical wellbeing of our children, I plan to introduce legislation aiming to supply the staffing gaps for mental health professionals across our schools by establishing a loan forgiveness program for individuals seeking to serve as school counselors, psychologists, or social workers. Under my bill, qualifying mental health school professionals could receive up to $40,000 in loan forgiveness in exchange for serving in a Pennsylvania school for a minimum of four years. Encouraging qualified and bright individuals to join these important workforces that require significant schooling and retaining them is needed to improve school safety and support our students across the Commonwealth.

As a mother and advocate for greater access to health services, I urge you to join me in ensuring that our children have access to counseling and the full range of mental health services they may need. Please sign on as a co-sponsor and let the children of Pennsylvania know they are not alone.



Introduced as HB2320