(See detailed instructions on how to TAKE ACTION)
The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP), part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, continues to face even more threats in the current economy. The ESSCP is the only federal program devoted to the creation and expansion of counseling programs in our nation's schools. Funds may be used to hire school social workers, school counselors, and school psychologists. "In Fiscal Year 2015, the ESSCP was funded at $49.5 million, which provided funds to 67 schools districts in 26 states across the country to establish or expand counseling programs. See funding and grant history here: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/elseccounseling/awards.html. The program has survived the last few very funding cycles, but has been subjected to continued across-the-board cuts, reducing funds each year. The need for counseling services at both the elementary and secondary school levels is clear, but the ability of school-employed counseling professionals to assist students in need is hindered by extraordinarily high student-to-professional ratios.
The ESSCP allows school-employed mental health professionals - -- school social workers, school counselors, and school psychologists -- to work together to establish a comprehensive counseling program that helps to address barriers to learning and promote academic success. These professionals guide students in academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and college and career development, preparing them for fulfilling lives as responsible members of society. They also work collaboratively to help students overcome barriers that impede their ability to stay in school, achieve academically, and develop the communication and interpersonal relationship skills needed to be successful in college and future employment.
We need critical advocacy from all professionals and families hoping to protect this vital program!
Threats to the ESSCP continue through talks of ESEA Reauthorization and funding for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY 2016; school year 2015-16). PLEASE CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATORS AND ASK THEM TO SUPPORT FUNDING FOR THE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL COUNSELING PROGRAM!!
We are asking each person to call (or email) your Members of Congress TODAY with the following message:
"As a constituent of Senator/Representative ___________, I am asking that he/she support continued authorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program in ESEA and continued funding in FY2016. Eliminating this critical and effective program will work against our efforts to identify and address students’ mental health issues and promote safe school environments that promote academic success."
Steps for Reaching Members of Congress:
- If you don't know your members of Congress, go to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov , put in your zip code, and you'll find out who to contact.
- Once you know who to contact, you can reach all members of Congress by calling the Capitol Switchboard – 202-225-3121202-225-3121 -- and asking for that Representative’s or Senator’s office. You can also get their contact information from their websites. NOTE: Please use your cell phone or home phone to make these calls, particularly if you work in a school or other public office.
- When you call, give your name and identify yourself as a "constituent" (Give your address or at least the city/town you live in). Please also identify yourself as a member of the School Social Work Association of America.
NOTE: If you are not able to connect by phone, go to your Member's website (you can reach that through www.house.gov and www.senate.gov as well) and send an email. Just type in the italicized message above and be sure again to give your name and address and that you are an SSWAA member.