legislative news and current legislation
SSWAA Legislative Committee and SSWAA Board
SSWAA responds to recent news coverage related to the inhumane conditions of migrant children detention facilities along the southern border of the United States and threats for increased ICE raids. As School Social Workers, we are on the frontlines working with migrant children and their families, including those with Temporary Protected Status and Dreamers (youth protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA]). We have an ethical responsibility to advocate against human rights violations. We bear witness to and understand the excruciating impact that fear, uncertainty and retraumatization has on an individual’s overall wellbeing, especially children. Thus, our ethical obligation is to mobilize and stand up for the rights of migrant children and their families. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU, 2019), the fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every person, regardless of immigration status. Thus, SSWAA is calling all School Social Workers to take urgent action and fight for social justice.
School Social Workers Stand Up for Migrant Children’s Human Rights: A Call to Action
SSWAA ACTION ALERT: Tell the Senate to Pass the American Dream & Promise Act
SSWAA Legislative Statements
Statement on Executive Order on Immigration (Feb. 2017)
During each session of Congress, SSWAA monitors and works actively for or in opposition to multiple pieces of legislation. Some of the bills SSWAA is following in the 116th Congress (1st Session, Jan. – Dec. 2019) are listed below.
"Message Bills": Hundreds of bills are introduced in every session of Congress, many of which never receive action. In some instances, it is simply that Congress does not have enough legislative time to get to all of them. In other cases, the legislation may be what are known as "message bills," providing a vehicle for the sponsor to raise an issue and engage in dialogue with other members while knowing the bill has no chance of passage. Sometimes message bills can lead to real action after more members become engaged in the issue, but that might take several years.
How to get information on congressional legislation: You may be interested in finding bills introduced on a particular subject (e.g., mental health, education, juvenile justice) and to track the progress of legislation. The official website for federal legislative information is run by the Library of Congress at www.congress.gov. You can also access the information there about members of Congress, congressional committees, and hearing schedules and video links, and find documents such as the U.S. Constitution and other historical information. You may want to bookmark this important website!
SSWAA is watching the following bills:
Funding for ESSA, Title IV-A formula block grant – Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations: SSWAA is advocating, with its partners in the Title IV-A Coalition, for full funding of Title IV-A or $1.6 billion. FY 2019 funding is $1.17 billion. FY 2020 funds would be for the school year 2020-21. Part of the grant to school districts must be used for "safe and healthy students" activities, and one option is school-based mental health services. In addition to "safe and healthy students" activities, funds must be designated for "well-rounded education" and education technology. School districts that receive at least $30,000 must do a needs assessment to see how best to spend these funds.
Mental Health Services for Students Act
Sponsor: House: Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA); Senate: Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN).
Summary: Creates $200 million in grant funding for 100 schools across the country to partner with local nonprofits to provide on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services.