Sen. Kelly, Advocates Celebrate Signing of New Children’s Mental Health Laws

June 8, 2022

Sen. Kelly joined fellow lawmakers, advocates, and families at the State Capitol on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 to celebrate the bill signing of three new laws to enhance children’s mental health supports.


Three bills cosponsored by Sen. Kelly to enhance children’s mental health services have been signed into law.


HARTFORD – Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) joined advocates, lawmakers and state officials on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 to sign into law three bills to enhance mental health services and support for children.


Sen. Kelly, ranking member of the General Assembly’s Children’s Committee, proposed and advocated for legislation to address the state’s child mental health crisis. He cosponsored all three bills that make sweeping changes to increase mental health supports across the state, including:

  • Senate Bill 1 An Act Concerning Childhood Mental and Physical Health Services in Schools.
  • Senate Bill 2 An Act Expanding Preschool and Mental and Behavioral Services for Children.
  • House Bill 5001 An Act Concerning Children’s Mental Health.


“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.”


“These bills are an important first step to begin to tackle the mental health crisis our kids are facing and help immediately connect all children to the help they need when they need it. These policies also aim to address mental health with a holistic approach and policies that range from supporting childcare to investing in workforce development and education initiatives for young people across our state. These measures reflect a bipartisan commitment to work together to help all children, and all people, access health care and live happy and healthy lives. I cannot thank the parents and advocates enough who shared with us all their experiences, their challenges and their pain. Their voices brought us to this important progress that is moving forward today,” said Sen. Kelly.

Sen. Kelly was joined by mental health advocates including Antonia Edwards of SoliDarity (far right), Civil Rights Attorney Cynthia Jennings (second from right), and President of the Greater Hartford African American Alliance J. Stan McCauley (left). 


Sen. Kelly (far right), joined (from left to right) mental health advocate Antonia Edwards, State Senator Saud Anwar, and State Representative Edwin Vargas at the State Capitol to celebrate the bill signing of three new laws to enhance children’s mental health supports.