|Posted:||July 10, 2019 01:58 PM|
|From:||Senator John P. Blake|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Certification for School Social Workers|
|In the near future, I plan to introduce companion legislation to Rep. Dan Miller’s (HB 390), to require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to create a certificate designation for school social workers.
This legislation would require any school entity that chooses to employ a school social worker to hire an individual who holds the appropriate educational specialist certificate from PDE. As the only member of the General Assembly with a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW), I was interested in advancing the good work that Representative Miller has begun in the House on this matter.
PDE designates which developmental services are required within public schools. Counseling, nursing and psychological services are examples of services which require a specialist designation from PDE. These certifications are necessary to assure the highest standard of specialized work. My bill seeks to add school social workers to this list of required specialist designations.
The benefits of having social workers in schools is paramount to the development of students. Social workers work hard to supplement the safety and wellness of students. The inclusion of these professionals as school specialists allows for students to have access to mental health care, crisis intervention and referral services for a variety of needs.
The required certification would ensure that social workers meet professional and ethical standards set forward by the Educator Discipline Act, Educator Code of Conduct, and Act 48 professional development standards.
This bill does not make the position of school social worker required for all public schools. Instead, the bill requires that when a school chooses to hire a specialized social worker, that individual meets the requirements and standards set by the state. In addition, this bill is prospective and therefore any social workers that currently work in public schools will not be required to earn a state certificate to comply with these changes.
School social workers can prove to be indispensable when it comes to our children's education and overall health, therefore I ask you to please consider co-sponsoring this legislation.
Introduced as SB974