Pennsylvania - School-based or School-linked Mental Health Services: Programs and Services

Area: 
Programs And Services
Policy Type: 
regulation; statute
Summary: 

State law requires districts to establish school-based or school-linked mental health promotion and intervention programs.

The Pennsylvania Code § 12.41 Student services.

(a) Each school entity shall prepare a written plan for the implementation of a comprehensive and integrated K-12 program of the student services based on the needs of its students. The plan shall be prepared and revised in accordance with the time frames and procedures described in § 4.13(c) (relating to strategic plans). Services offered by community agencies in public schools shall be coordinated by and under the general direction of the school entity. The plan must include policies and procedures for emergency care and administration of medication and treatment under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (35 P.S. §§ 780-101 -- 780-144) and guidelines issued by the Department of Health. The Department of Health guidelines are available from the Division of School Health, Department of Health, P.O. Box 90, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17108. A school district that operates a prekindergarten program shall address its prekindergarten program in the plan developed under § 4.13(c). A school entity shall make its student services plan available for public inspection and comment for a minimum of 28 days prior to approval of the plan by the school entity's governing board.

(b) Though the variety of student services offered will differ from school to school depending upon its size and the needs of its students, the following categories of services shall be provided by each school entity in planning its student services:

  • (1) Developmental services for students that address their developmental needs throughout their enrollment in school. Developmental services include guidance counseling, psychological services, health services, home and school visitor services and social work services that support students in addressing their academic, behavioral, health, personal and social development issues.

The Pennsylvania Code § 12.41 Student services.

(b) Though the variety of student services offered will differ from school to school depending upon its size and the needs of its students, the following categories of services shall be provided by each school entity in planning its student services:

  • (2) Diagnostic, intervention and referral services for students who are experiencing problems attaining educational achievement appropriate to their learning potential.
    • (i) Student services staff use diagnostic services to identify barriers that limit a student's success in school. Intervention services actively engage student services staff in activities planned to reduce or eliminate specific barriers to student success.
    • (ii) Student services staff may arrange for referrals to other school-based or school-linked professionals or may refer parents and guardians to appropriate community-based services for assistance.
  • (3) Consultation and coordination services for students who are experiencing chronic problems that require multiple services by teams or specialists.
    • (i) Consultation services are used by student services staff, in partnership with parents or guardians, to obtain assistance to address barriers and issues that are outside the scope of the student services professional.
    • (ii) Consultation and coordination services may be used to assist in the diagnosis, intervention or referral of students who face barriers to success.
    • (iii) Coordination services connect school resources with other available resources to assist students in meeting their educational objectives.

(c) Student services must:

  • (1) Be an integral part of the instructional program at all levels of the school system.
  • (2) Provide information to students and parents or guardians about educational opportunities of the school's instructional program and how to access these opportunities.
  • (3) Provide career information and assessments so that students and parents or guardians might become aware of the world of work and of a variety of career options available to individual students.
  • (4) Provide basic health services outlined in Article XIV of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P.S. §§ 14-1401 -- 14-1423) for students and information to parents or guardians about the health needs of their children.

(d) When student assessments using individual surveys are administered, parents or guardians shall be informed of the nature and scope of the surveys and of their relationship to the educational program of their child, consistent with section 445 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C.A. § 1232h) regarding protection of pupil rights. Parents or guardians, or the student if the student is 18 years of age or older, shall have the right to refuse to participate in the survey by means of procedures established by the school entity.

(e) Persons delivering student services shall be specifically licensed or certified as required by statute or regulation.

(f) The Department will provide guidelines and technical assistance to local education agencies in planning student services.


Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 14. Article XIII-A. Safe Schools. Section 1302-A. Office for Safe Schools.

(c) In addition to the powers and duties set forth under subsection (b), the office is authorized to make targeted grants to school entities to fund programs which address school violence, including:

  • (12)  Provision of specialized staff and student training programs, including training for Student Assistance Program team members in elementary, middle and high schools in the referral of students at risk of violent behavior to appropriate community-based services, including mental health services.
    Pennsylvania General Assembly
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