State law encourages the provision of school counseling or guidance services in elementary grade levels (K-8).
California Education Code 1760. Employment of personnel to provide guidance services
The county superintendent of schools may, with the approval of the county board of education, employ personnel to provide necessary guidance services to pupils in elementary school districts under his jurisdiction which had less than 901 units of average daily attendance during the preceding fiscal year, in high school districts under his jurisdiction which had less than 301 units of average daily attendance during the preceding fiscal year, and in unified school districts under his jurisdiction which had less than 1,501 units of average daily attendance during the preceding fiscal year; provided, adequate guidance services are not being furnished by the district.
California Education Code 1761. Provision of guidance services under district agreements
The county superintendent of schools may, with the approval of the county board of education, enter into an agreement with the governing board of any district for the provision of guidance services in the district by the county superintendent of schools. The agreement shall provide for the payment by the district of the cost of providing the guidance services. The county superintendent of schools shall transfer from the funds of the district to the county school service fund the amounts set forth in the agreement.
California Education Code 44046 Rights and Duties
(a) The governing board of a small school district, which does not employ persons charged with school–community duties of counseling students and parents or guardians in their homes, may contract with any qualified social service agency or organization to secure the services, on a part–time or full–time basis, of qualified social workers as counselors in schools and in the homes of pupils. The State Board of Education shall adopt rules and regulations for the implementation of this section, but such social workers shall not be required to hold credentials or certification documents otherwise required under this code for service in the public schools. (b) Social workers authorized to serve under this section, as well as credentialed school social workers in districts other than small school districts, may perform, but are not limited to, the performance of the following service to children, parents, school personnel, and community agencies: (1) Group and individual counseling and casework with parents and children relating to learning and adjustment problems of children, including parent education. (2) Liaison with community resources offering services to schoolchildren and their families. (3) Consultation with parents and others in crisis situations, such as truancy, drug abuse, suicide threats, assaults, and child abuse. (4) Assessment of social and behavioral disabilities affecting learning, including but not limited to case study evaluation, recommendations for remediation or placement, and periodic reevaluation. (5) Participation in and coordination of staff development programs for professional, paraprofessional, and classified school staff and supervision of pupil personnel services workers. (6) Coordination of social service and mental health components of children’s centers and other early childhood development programs in the public schools. (7) Consultation and collaboration with school personnel to promote a school environment responsive to the needs of children and the planning of educational programs which will prepare children to function in a culturally diversified society. (c) As used in this section “small school district” means any of the following school districts: (1) A unified school district having an average daily attendance of less than 1,501. (2) A high school district having an average daily attendance of less than 301. (3) An elementary school district having an average daily attendance of less than 901.
California Education Code 49600 Educational Counseling
(a) The governing board of a school district may provide a comprehensive educational counseling program for all pupils enrolled in the school district. It is the intent of the Legislature that a school district that provides educational counseling to its pupils implement a structured and coherent counseling program.
(b) For purposes of this section, "educational counseling" means specialized services provided by a school counselor possessing a valid credential with a specialization in pupil personnel services who is assigned specific times to directly counsel pupils.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that school counselors do all of the following:
- (1) Engage with, advocate for, and provide support for, all pupils with respect to learning and achievement.
- (2) Plan, implement, and evaluate programs to promote the academic, career, personal, and social development of all pupils, including pupils from low-income families, foster youth, homeless youth, undocumented youth, and pupils at all levels of academic, social, and emotional abilities.
- (3) Use multiple sources of information to monitor and improve pupil behavior and achievement.
- (4) Collaborate and coordinate with school and community resources.
- (5) Promote and maintain a safe learning environment for all pupils by providing restorative justice practices, positive behavior interventions, and support services.
- (6) Intervene to ameliorate school-related problems, including issues related to chronic absences.
- (7) Use research-based strategies to reduce stigma, conflict, and pupil-to-pupil mistreatment and bullying.
- (8) Improve school climate and pupil well-being.
- (9) Enhance pupils' social and emotional competence, character, health, civic engagement, cultural literacy, and commitment to lifelong learning and the pursuit of high-quality educational programs.
- (10) Provide counseling interventions and support services for pupils classified as English learners, eligible for free or reduced-price meals, or foster youth, including enhancing equity and access to the education system and community services.
- (11) Engage in continued development as a professional school counselor.
California Education Code 8804. Award of grants to local educational agency or consortium
The superintendent shall award grants to a local educational agency or consortium to pay the costs of planning and operating, on behalf of one or more qualifying schools within the local educational agency or consortium, programs that provide support services to pupils and their families at or near the school, as follows: (g) For purposes of this chapter, support services shall include case–managed health, mental health, social, and academic support services benefiting children and their families, and may include, but are not limited to: (6) Counseling, including family counseling and suicide prevention.