MADISON – Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) along with Assembly colleagues approved legislation today that will bring much-needed mental health resources to local school districts through a school-based mental health pilot program. Rep. Steineke authored Assembly Bill 644 alongside Senator Roth (R-Appleton) and Senator Darling (R-River Hills) to assist teachers, school counselors, and administrators address student mental health needs in real time.
“Having worked with our local school districts to form this legislation, I know just how big of a need it is for our educators to have more tools to address students with mental health concerns,” said Rep. Steineke. “This bill will put another tool in our districts’ toolbox to be able to react to students’ needs quickly and accurately.”
The legislation draws on the success of the Child Psychiatry Consultation Program (CPCP), run by the Medical College of Wisconsin, by expanding its capabilities to school districts in Outagamie County. Because of its mixture of both rural and urban districts, as well as its existing CPCP infrastructure, Outagamie County proved to be an ideal location to launch the pilot program. The school-based mental health pilot program was designed to be scale-able, with an end goal of expanding it statewide.
“With one in five students experiencing a mental health issue, now is the time to give both our students and schools the support they need,” continued Rep. Steineke. “I’m committed to continuing to see this bill through the legislative process so it can start making a meaningful difference in our local schools.”
AB 644 passed out of the Assembly on a unanimous vote. It now heads to the state Senate for consideration.