|December 7, 2020 11:44 AM
|Representative Bridget M. Kosierowski
|All House members
|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 the state 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 reduce 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 school in Pennsylvania 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 state.
As a mother and advocate for greater access to health services, I urge you to join me in co-sponsoring legislation to ensure that our children have access to counseling and the full range of mental health services they may need.
Introduced as HB180