Photo of Senator McCrory.

State Senator

Doug McCrory

Representing Hartford, Bloomfield & Windsor

Sen. McCrory Leads Committee Approval of Bill to Expand Student Health and Safety Services

The Priority Legislation for Senate Democrats includes an Expansion of Minority Teacher Recruitment Efforts and Greater Support for Early Childhood Education Programs


State Senator Doug McCrory (D-Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor), Senate Chair of the Education Committee, led passage of Senate Bill 1 – “An Act Concerning Childhood Mental and Physical Health Services in Schools” – out of the Education Committee. This action brings the expansive legislation to support the mental health, social-emotional, and learning development needs of Connecticut’s youth one step closer to becoming law.

“This is a bill that meets the moment we are in as a state. Ask most families with children and they will tell you how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted their children’s mental health and ability to learn. The effects of this pandemic have fallen hardest on our young people and we can only truly recover as a state if we invest in their academic, social-emotional, and mental health needs,” said Sen. McCrory.

Senate Bill 1 includes the following focuses and actions:

Expanding Access to Mental Health Services and Addressing the Youth Mental Health Crisis

  • $590,000 grants will be made available to establish 36 new school-based health centers in Connecticut to ensure the availability of health services for students, including mental health support. The total of these grants comes to $21.24 million
  • Create a grant program for boards of education to hire and retain additional school social workers and psychologists
  • Develop a mental health plan for student athletes which will include guidelines on crisis intervention services, screening, and appropriate referrals for student athletes. Schools will enact the plan in 2023

Bolster Minority Teacher Recruitment Efforts

  • Establish a new minority teacher candidate scholarship program. The scholarship will support people of color who have graduated from a priority school district and are enrolled in a teacher preparation program at a four-year higher education institution in Connecticut

More Accessible Early Childhood Education Programs

  • The Office of Early Childhood will coordinate with school readiness councils across Connecticut to conduct needs assessments for infant, toddler, and preschool spaces in school readiness programs. If the office finds that there are available preschool spaces that are not being used, then those spots can be converted into infant and toddler placements, which will allow for greater availability of early childhood services

School readiness grants will be made available to childcare centers to enhance support for early childhood development programs:

  • $16,000 per year for children three years old or younger who are not in preschool program
  • $14,500 per year for children for children three years old and above who are in a preschool program

Better Pay for Child Care and Early Childhood Education Workers

The Office of Early Childhood will develop an early child care and education salary enhancement program to increase yearly wages for both child care and early childhood education workers.

  • $20,000 for a licensee of a family child care home
  • $6,000 for a full-time assistant or substitute staff member
  • $3,000 for a part-time assistant or substitute staff

The Office of Early Childhood will determine the schedule for distributing grants to child care and early childhood education programs that would pay for eligible salary enhancements.

Enhance School Preparation to Respond to a Student Opioid Overdose

  • Boards of education will be provided information on how to acquire no-cost opioid antagonists, like Narcan, by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection and Department of Education
  • Pharmacists and prescribing practitioners can dispense opioid antagonists to board of educations and school district employees will be trained on proper use and handling
  • There must be at least one qualified school employee who can administer an opioid antagonist in the event a school nurse is not available

Supporting Student Engagement and Inclusiveness

  • $13 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the 15 school districts currently participating in the Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP) and to add five more school districts to the program. The program helps students struggling with absenteeism and disengagement
  • Create a task force to study efforts and opportunities to expand identified efforts that educate students on disability and combatting ableism in the school-setting
  • Establish a task force to study the governance structure and internal procedures of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC)

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