Washington - Early Identification and Referral: Programs and Services

Area: 
Programs And Services
Policy Type: 
Statute
Summary: 

State law encourages or requires districts to implement identification and referral processes to link students and families with needed resources.

Revised Code of Washington 28A.310.500 Youth suicide screening and referral—Response to emotional or behavioral distress in students—Training for educators and staff—Suicide prevention training.

(1) Each educational service district shall develop and maintain the capacity to offer training for educators and other school district staff on youth suicide screening and referral, and on recognition, initial screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress in students, including but not limited to indicators of possible substance abuse, violence, and youth suicide. An educational service district may demonstrate capacity by employing staff with sufficient expertise to offer the training or by contracting with individuals or organizations to offer the training. Training may be offered on a fee-for-service basis, or at no cost to school districts or educators if funds are appropriated specifically for this purpose or made available through grants or other sources.

(2)(a) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, Forefront at the University of Washington shall convene a one-day in-person training of student support staff from the educational service districts to deepen the staff’s capacity to assist schools in their districts in responding to concerns about suicide. Educational service districts shall send staff members to the one-day in-person training within existing resources.

  • (b) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, after establishing these relationships with the educational service districts, Forefront at the University of Washington must continue to meet with the educational service districts via videoconference on a monthly basis to answer questions that arise for the educational service districts, and to assess the feasibility of collaborating with the educational service districts to develop a multiyear, statewide rollout of a comprehensive school suicide prevention model involving regional trainings, on-site coaching, and cohorts of participating schools in each educational service district.
  • (c) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, Forefront at the University of Washington must work to develop public-private partnerships to support the rollout of a comprehensive school suicide prevention model across Washington’s middle and high schools.
  • (d) The comprehensive school suicide prevention model must consist of:
    • (i) School-specific revisions to safe school plans required under RCW 28A.320.125, to include procedures for suicide prevention, intervention, assessment, referral, reentry, and intervention and recovery after a suicide attempt or death;
    • (ii) Developing, within the school, capacity to train staff, teachers, parents, and students in how to recognize and support a student who may be struggling with behavioral health issues;
    • (iii) Improved identification such as screening, and response systems such as family counseling, to support students who are at risk;
    • (iv) Enhanced community-based linkages of support; and
    • (v) School selection of appropriate curricula and programs to enhance student awareness of behavioral health issues to reduce stigma, and to promote resilience and coping skills.

Revised Code of Washington 28A.320.127 Plan for recognition, screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress in students, including possible sexual abuse.

(1) Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, each school district must adopt a plan for recognition, initial screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress in students, including but not limited to indicators of possible substance abuse, violence, youth suicide, and sexual abuse. The school district must annually provide the plan to all district staff.

(2) At a minimum the plan must address:
(a) Identification of training opportunities in recognition, screening, and referral that may be available for staff;

  • (b) How to use the expertise of district staff who have been trained in recognition, screening, and referral;
  • (c) How staff should respond to suspicions, concerns, or warning signs of emotional or behavioral distress in students;
  • (d) Identification and development of partnerships with community organizations and agencies for referral of students to health, mental health, substance abuse, and social support services, including development of at least one memorandum of understanding between the district and such an entity in the community or region;
  • (e) Protocols and procedures for communication with parents and guardians, including the notification requirements under RCW 28A.320.160;
  • (f) How staff should respond to a crisis situation where a student is in imminent danger to himself or herself or others;
  • (g) How the district will provide support to students and staff after an incident of violence, youth suicide, or allegations of sexual abuse;
  • (h) How staff should respond when allegations of sexual contact or abuse are made against a staff member, a volunteer, or a parent, guardian, or family member of the student, including how staff should interact with parents, law enforcement, and child protective services; and
  • (i) How the district will provide to certificated and classified staff the training on the obligation to report physical abuse or sexual misconduct required under RCW 28A.400.317.

(3) The plan under this section may be a separate plan or a component of another district plan or policy, such as the harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policy under RCW 28A.300.2851 or the comprehensive safe school plan required under RCW 28A.32

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