Photo of Senator Cassano.

State Senator

Steve Cassano

Representing Andover, Bolton, Glastonbury & Manchester

Senator Cassano Proud as Senate Invests in Children's Health, Achieving Most Important Priority for Legislative Session


Upon the completion of the 2022 legislative session, State Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) was proud as the State Senate achieved its highest legislative priorities, passing three bills investing hundreds of millions of dollars in children's health and services. Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2, which passed both chambers and are set to be signed into law soon, are designed to expand health services, especially regarding mental health, across the state and in schools, working to counter the circumstances often contributing to adverse health impacts. House Bill 5001, also set to become law, addresses the current acute issues with children's mental health, aiming to aid the children currently experiencing crises.

"This year, legislators looked at the issues facing our state and saw a catastrophe in children's mental health," said Sen. Cassano. "Children have for years suffered from mental health conditions, with the pandemic only amplifying this serious issue. When children are facing delays and filling emergency rooms seeking pediatric mental health aid, we cannot afford to wait another moment. That's why I'm proud of these three bills that passed our chambers with overwhelming support, as they do not only address the current maladies hurting so many today, but provide a pathway toward improving the conditions that, left unchecked, can further contribute to these issues. There is plenty of work left to do, but these bills will play a role in aiding the youth of today as they grow into the future of Connecticut."

Senate Bill 1, "An Act Concerning Childhood Mental and Physical Health Services In Schools," takes a thorough approach to supporting youth from formative years through high school, specifically taking aim at the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on young people. It invests in mental health services and resources at schools, improves child care worker wages and bolsters access to early childhood education, fights the opioid crisis through access to preventative tools, works to bolster the state's teaching workforce and invests in education opportunities including supporting disengaged students and connecting students with new career opportunities.

Senate Bill 2, "An Act Expanding Preschool and Mental and Behavioral Services For Children," will expand availability of mobile crisis centers and make them available at all times; create an equity-based mental health fund; allow telehealth services, including expansion of services for professionals residing out of state; study the effects of social media and mobile phone use on children's mental health; expand family care center populations; facilitate hiring and expansion of social work, therapy and other pathology work; and better recruit and retain healthcare workers.

House Bill 5001, "An Act Concerning Children's Mental Health," takes steps to improve availability and access to mental health resources including waiving licensure requirements for mental and behavioral health providers licensed in other states; expands expedited licensing for those health care providers; increases availability of social workers both in- and out-of-state; provides funds for boards of education to hire student mental health services and for higher education to better deliver such services; and for improvements to emergency services, including establishing better procedures to track and respond to emergency calls involving mental health, behavioral health or substance use disorder services.

All three bills passed the House and Senate and will soon be signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont.

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