Field Faculty Talk with Legislators about Improved Mental Health Services in Schools

PictureBraunginn and Larsen Part of Wisconsin School Social Workers Association

One in five school-age children struggle with mental health issues and 80 percent of those students do not get professional help. Most school districts in Wisconsin do not receive funding specifically to support students with mental health issues.


To address the needs of school districts and the importance of professionally-licensed social workers in schools, two field faculty members met with state legislators. Jenny Braunginn and Katie Larsen, who teach School Social Work Field Units, recently met with Rep. Jonathan Brostoff and Sen. Luther Olsen. Larsen and Braunginn spoke with the lawmakers as liaisons to the Board of Wisconsin School Social Workers Association (WSSWA). Specifically, they talked about Governor Walker’s budget proposal to expand resources for access to mental health services for school-age children.


Governor Walker’s plan, which was developed by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and mental health experts, would provide $6.3 million dollars for a categorical aid program to support school districts in the provision and expansion of mental health services; new community and school mental health collaboration grants; and a new mental health training support program. WSSWA has argued that the need for these services as well as highly competent and professionally-licensed social workers is clear to Wisconsin communities.


“School social workers are essential to help better address mental health issues in school because of their unique training that takes a holistic approach in working with students” says Braunginn. “They are trained not only to assess and provide interventions for children in schools directly, but also to work closely with families and community supports.”


To work in schools as social workers, students must not only complete their MSW course and field requirements, but also complete a portfolio that demonstrates competencies in school social work standards, and obtain a license from DPI. UW-Madison is one of only three approved Education Preparation Programs in Wisconsin to provide licensing requirements for school social workers.


The governor’s plan was part of his biennium budget proposal which is currently working its way through the state legislature. 

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Last edited by jmlee29 on Monday, June 05, 2017 | Printer Friendly Version