Kelly, Formica Applaud Senate Passage of Bipartisan Children’s Mental Health Legislation

April 22, 2022

HARTFORD – Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) are applauding the State Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 2 An Act Expanding Preschool and Mental and Behavioral Services for Children.


The bill includes expansive provisions to enhance mental health services and support for children.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted people’s mental health and created barriers to those seeking mental health care,” said Sen. Kelly. “For children in particular, many are facing a crisis in mental health care access and increased demand has strained an already struggling system. Pandemic-related measures reduced in-person interactions among children, friends, social supports, and professionals such as teachers, school counselors, pediatricians, and child welfare workers. This made it harder to recognize signs of child abuse, mental health concerns, and other challenges. At the same time, Connecticut’s income growth and job growth continue to lag the nation, creating instability and further strain on families and mental health. The pandemic without a doubt exacerbated issues and also brought light to issues that have long existed and that demand attention and action.”


“This bill marks an important first step to help immediately connect all children to the help they need when they need it,” said Sen. Formica. “It also looks at the big picture, with these policies that range from supporting childcare to investing in workforce development and education initiatives for young people across our state. This bill reflects a bipartisan commitment to work together to help all children, and all people, access health care and live happy and healthy lives.”


The bill includes multiple proposals advocated for by Senate Republicans in their Better Way to a Healthy Connecticut legislative proposal including:


  • Establishing Family Care Coordinators, a school-based position that will work with school psychologists and/or social workers to help navigate the daunting and disconnected mental health system. The Family Care Coordinator will work with hospitals with care coordinator teams to bridge communication to ensure a continuum of care.


  • Increasing capacity and availability of mental health treatment by expanding coverage for mental health care professionals to increase access to early intervention.


  • Initiating the Pipeline for CT’s Future Program, a workforce development program focused on connecting young people in high schools to jobs and career paths.


  • Initiating a Social Media Impact Study focused on evaluating the impact of social media on the mental health of children to understand the experience of our children and how we can support them.


The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.