Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today called on Mayor de Blasio and City Council budget negotiators to provide funding for one social worker in every New York City public school from Harlem to Hollis.
Everyone has problems–and social workers can intervene and assist in a range of issues students have, from providing individualized counseling and conflict mediation to crisis intervention.
“New York City needs a tangible response to the mental health crisis that it faces,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It is not enough to throw money at a problem without a plan. It’s time for the de Blasio Administration to put their money where their mouth is and invest in social workers for New York City schools. The total cost of having one social worker per school, according to an IBO study that I requested, would be an additional $94.4 million, which is just a fraction of the budget. Providing a social worker per school should be the ground floor of efforts to provide mental health care for New York City students.”
In his upcoming budget, Mayor de Blasio has proposed a cut of $13.9 million that funded 69 social workers who assist homeless children in dealing with trauma and staying on track with school work. Brewer believes that instead of a ‘budget dance’ around such emergency needs, the Administration needs to establish a minimum level for on-site mental health services for New York City students.
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“Our children don’t need consultants. They need direct, school-based social and emotional support staff. This budget season I’m working actively to ensure that there is full funding for more licensed social workers, guidance counselors, psychologists, and to establish a mental health continuum to provide direct care for students with advanced behavioral needs,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education. “Working to end stigma around mental health is a laudable goal, but that work falls flat without access to direct service providers. Kids need stable, trusted, and appropriately-trained adults to meet their social-emotional learning needs. I have heard from students and schools across the city about the transformative impact of social workers on school climate. It’s past time for the City to dedicate funding to genuine social and emotional supports from trained professionals to serve our students.”
“It is time to move beyond the sentiment that it is impossible to do this, said Dr. Claire Green-Forde, Executive Director, NYC Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. We invest in what we deem important. What is more important than ameliorating suffering and helping to save the lives of children? Countless studies have shown the harmful and long-lasting impact of delayed or minimal psychosocial intervention. Social Workers believe in equity and justice; access to quality and timely health care intervention is a basic human right. We proudly stand with Manhattan Borough President Brewer and salute her unwavering commitment to the health of our city’s children by working to ensure that there is a licensed social worker in every school in New York City” says Dr. Claire Green-Forde, LCSW, Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers, NYC Chapter.
“Every NYC school needs at least one social worker as part of the day-to-day DOE staff to support students, shape school norms, and provide needed services thus developing a school culture where students can feel safe, connect, and learn,” said Hilary, DOE social worker.
“The mental health and well-being of our young people should be the top priority of every New Yorker who cares about the future of our city. ThriveNYC selected Educational Alliance’s community schools as the first school-based program to place social workers, and we see firsthand the positive impact these mental health professionals have on our students. Every child in New York City deserves this same level of care and attention. We are grateful to Manhattan Borough President Brewer for leading this effort and call on the City to ensure all students have access to reliable mental health resources, especially our most vulnerable,” said Alan van Capelle, President and CEO, Educational Alliance