State law encourages districts to establish school-based or school-linked mental health promotion and intervention programs.
Revised Code of Washington 28A.310.510 Regional school safety centers.
(1) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, each educational service district must establish a regional school safety center as provided in this section.
(2) The regional school safety centers working in collaboration with one another and the state school safety center, established in RCW 28A.300.630, form a statewide network for school safety. The purpose of this statewide network is to provide coordination of school safety efforts throughout the state and to provide school safety resources to the school districts in each educational service district region.
(3) Working in collaboration with the office of the superintendent of public instruction and the statewide network, each regional school safety center must provide to the school districts in its region:
- (a) Behavioral health coordination that, at a minimum, includes:
- (i) Providing support for school district development and implementation of plans for recognition, initial screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress in students as required by RCW 28A.320.127;
- (ii) Suicide prevention training for school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers;
- (iii) Facilitating partnerships and coordination between school districts, public schools, and existing regional and local systems of behavioral health care services and supports in order to increase student and family access to the services and supports;
- (iv) Assisting school districts and public schools in building capacity to identify and support students in need of behavioral health care services and to link students and families with community-based behavioral health care services;
- (v) Identifying, sharing, and integrating, to the extent practicable, behavioral and physical health care service delivery models;
- (vi) Providing medicaid billing related training, technical assistance, and coordination between school districts; and
- (vii) Guidance in implementing best practices in response to, and to recover from, the suicide or attempted suicide of a student;
Revised Code of Washington 28A.320.280 School counselors, social workers, and psychologists — Priorities.
The school counselor works with developing and leading a comprehensive guidance and counseling program to focus on the academic, career, personal, and social needs of all students. School psychologists carry out special education evaluation duties, among other things. School social workers promote and support students’ health, academic, and social success with counseling and support, and by providing and coordinating specialized services and resources. All of these professionals are also involved in multitiered systems of support for academic and behavioral skills. These professionals focus on student mental health, work with at-risk and marginalized students, perform risk assessments, and collaborate with mental health professionals to promote student achievement and create a safe learning environment. In order that school counselors, social workers, and psychologists have the time available to prioritize these functions, in addition to other activities requiring direct student contact, responsibilities such as data input and data tracking should be handled by nonlicensed, noncertified staff, where possible.
Revised Code of Washington 28A.410.044 School psychologists and social workers — Domains and roles.
(1) A school psychologist is a professional educator who holds a valid school psychologist certification as defined by the professional educator Standard board. Pursuant to the national association of school psychologists’ model for comprehensive and integrated school psychological services, school psychologists deliver services across ten domains of practice. Two domains permeate all areas of service delivery: Data-based decision making; and consultation and collaboration. Five domains encompass direct and indirect services to children and their families: Student-level services, interventions, and instructional supports to develop academic skills; student-level interventions and mental health services to develop social and life skills; systems-level school-wide practices to promote learning; systems-level preventive and responsive services; and systems-level family school collaboration services. The three foundational domains include: Knowledge and skills related to diversity in development and learning; research and program evaluation; and legal and ethical practice.
(2) A school social worker is a professional in the fields of social work and education who holds a valid school social worker certification as defined by the professional educator Standard board. The purpose and role of the school social worker is to provide an integral link between school, home, and community in helping students achieve academic and social success. This is accomplished by removing barriers and providing services that include: Mental health and academic counseling, support for students and parents, crisis prevention and intervention, professional case management, collaboration with other professionals, organizations, and community agencies, and advocacy for students and parents. School social workers work directly with school administrators as well as students and families, at various levels and as part of an interdisciplinary team in the educational system, including at the building, district, and state level. School social workers provide leadership and professional expertise regarding the formation of school discipline policies and procedures, and through school-based mental health services, crisis management, the implementation of social-emotional learning, and other support services that impact student academic and social-emotional success. School social workers also facilitate community involvement in the schools while advocating for student success.
Revised Code of Washington 28A.630.500 Children's mental health and substance use disorder services—Pilot sites—Report. (Expires January 1 2020.)
(1) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, the office of the superintendent of public instruction shall establish a competitive application process to designate two educational service districts in which to pilot one lead staff person for children's mental health and substance use disorder services. (2) The office must select two educational service districts as pilot sites by October 1, 2017. When selecting the pilot sites, the office must endeavor to achieve a balanced geographic distribution of sites east of the crest of the Cascade mountains and west of the crest of the Cascade mountains. (3) The lead staff person for each pilot site must have the primary responsibility for:
- (a) Coordinating medicaid billing for schools and school districts in the educational service district;
- (b) Facilitating partnerships with community mental health agencies, providers of substance use disorder treatment, and other providers;
- (c) Sharing service models;
- (d) Seeking public and private grant funding;
- (e) Ensuring the adequacy of other system level supports for students with mental health and substance use disorder treatment needs; and
- (f) Collaborating with the other selected project and with the office of the superintendent of public instruction. (4) The office of the superintendent of public instruction must report on the results of the two pilot projects to the governor and the appropriate committees of the legislature in accordance with RCW 43.01.036 by December 1, 2019. The report must also include:
- (a) A case study of an educational service district that is successfully delivering and coordinating children's mental health activities and services. Activities and services may include but are not limited to medicaid billing, facilitating partnerships with community mental health agencies, and seeking and securing public and private funding; and
- (b) Recommendations regarding whether to continue or make permanent the pilot projects and how the projects might be replicated in other educational service districts. (5) This section expires January 1, 2020.