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Proposed Connecticut Bill Mandates Mental Health Assessments for Homeschooled Children

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Proposed Connecticut Bill Mandates Mental Health Assessments for Homeschooled Children

 


Hartford, Connecticut – A national homeschooling organization is sounding the alarm against a bill proposed in the Connecticut legislature which would require both public school and homeschooled children to undergo a behavioral health assessment at various stages of child development.

Bill 374, proposed in the General Assembly by sponsors Senator Toni Harp and Representative Toni Walker, is likely in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, which took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults this past December. Some believe that the incident could have been better prevented should there have been sufficient mental health assistance for gunman Adam Lanza, and therefore, the women are seeking to ensure that today’s youth are screened throughout their adolescence for any concerning behavioral problems.

Harp, who serves as the chairman of the Connecticut mental health task force, recently told reporters that while she does not want children to be stigmatized over the matter, she feels that lawmakers need to see how to better care for the mental well-being of youth in order to prevent another tragedy.

“The concern we have is that increasing stigma will mitigate against treatment,” she explained. “What we are doing is looking at our own mental health delivery system to see what the gaps are … in case there was some sort of relationship [between mental illness and Adam Lanza's actions].”

Therefore, the bill that Harp and Walker have introduced to the state legislature seeks to have all children regularly analyzed by a health care provider. It reads, “An Act Requiring Behavioral Health Assessments for Children. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened: That section 10-206 of the general statutes be amended to require (1) each pupil enrolled in public school at grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 and each home-schooled child at ages 12, 14 and 17 to have a confidential behavioral health assessment, the results of which shall be disclosed only to the child’s parent or guardian, and (2) each health care provider performing a child’s behavioral health assessment to complete the appropriate form supplied by the State Board of Education verifying that the child has received the assessment.”

While some do not see reason for concern over the bill, others believe that the requirement would be too intrusive for families. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association recently sent out a call to action over the matter, requesting that citizens contact their representatives to urge them to strike the bill down.

“Proposed Bill 374 would essentially authorize the state to conduct regular social services investigations of homeschooling families without any basis to do so,” outlines senior counsel Dee Black. “These assessments would be conducted by an unspecified health care provider and would be conducted even though there was no indication whatsoever that these children had a behavioral problem. The bill states that the results of the assessments are to be disclosed only to the child’s parent or guardian, but that the health care provider must submit a form to the State Board of Education verifying that the child has received the assessment.”

“According to the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership, a state organization made up of the Department of Children and Families, Department of Social Services, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and others, a behavioral health assessment is quite comprehensive and invasive,” he continued. “It includes ‘a review of physical and mental health, intelligence, school performance, employment, level of function in different domains including family situation and behavior in the community.’”

“This assessment would constitute an unwarranted, gross invasion of family privacy,” Black said. “This bill should be opposed.”

Other organizations such as National Home Education Legal Defense are monitoring the legislation, but are not as concerned as they state that it is too early too tell what the requirements of the bill will entail.

“NHELD does recommend that all parents should be aware, and keep track of, proposed Senate Bill 374,” stated executive director and attorney Deborah Stevenson. “[However,] we don’t know what the final language of the bill will look like, or whether it will be voted on in committee or on the floor of the House or Senate. We need to be careful in how we approach anyone about this at this time.”

“The bill does not specify anything about allowing any social services agency to become involved in your child’s healthcare. It simply states that the fact that an assessment was done will be provided to the State Department of Education,” she said. “While anything is always possible, right now it is only a proposed bill — that is, an idea that is written down.”

The bill is stated to currently be before the legislature’s Public Health Committee for consideration.

by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM
Replies (41-50):
TCgirlatheart
by TC on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM
1 mom liked this
Thanks.
I have had behavioral concerns brushed off by pediatricians and actually got more support, and resources, from DS' teacher.


Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:


Quoting TCgirlatheart:

Whoa Nellie! Calm yourself.


Teachers, an experienced trained teacher, can see the warning signs that may be missed by parents who are too busy or in denial to their child's behaviors(and we have ALL met a parent who thinks their kid is a perfect little angel).


You have yourself a nice day.




Quoting AutymsMommy:


Teachers are not mental health professionals. Teachers are not doctors. You know who IS qualified to notice a problem and help a parent act on it? Our pediatrician. You know - that man who went to medical school and is qualified to help spot problems and how to assign resource? Yes, him; not a teacher with a four year elementary ed degree.

I'm surprised anyone would assert the opinion you stated given the ridiculous number of teachers pushing ADD/ADHD medication on children for age appropriate behaviours.




Quoting TCgirlatheart:

I guess I can see where a trained teacher may catch an issue before a parent can, as some can be in denial or just not observant.



However, I also think all school aged children, and families would benefit from this kind of assessment.






I agree, TC. Also, most peds aren't mental health professionals either, regardless of their MD statuses.

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candlegal
by Judy on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:44 PM
1 mom liked this

and so it begins


AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM
3 moms liked this


Honest question (because I am sincerely curious when I see statements like this).

Why do you consider homeschoolers more crazy and "isolationist" than, say, a parent who chooses private school over public school? A parent who chooses private school, like a parent who chooses to homeschool, often does it because they want to control their child's environment (both socially and for academic reasons) on some level.

While I do know some homeschool parents who give all others a bad name by rarely participating in any activity outside of home and church, most that I know (these days) are heavily involved in co-ops, extracurricular activities and clubs, sports, etc.

We had to drop one activity just so we could have two days at home, where we weren't committed to being out of the house for one activity or another. Isolationist is the last descriptive I think of when I consider most of the homeschool families I know, lol.

Quoting SWasson:

This seems perfectly reasonable to me. I'm very wary of homeschooling families who fear that getting their children a psych assessment every few years would be an intrusion on their crazy, isolationist bubbles.



I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff: we have traditional gender roles, we're Catholic, I'm Libertarian, he's Republican, we're both conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee














acrogodess
by Silver Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:53 PM
I don't see it any different than the school system requiring physicals and dental check ups. So long as both public schooled and homeschooled children are being screened for the same things, it wouldn't bother me at all.
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AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:57 PM
6 moms liked this

Question for those who are fine with this bill.

I assume you are also fine with them then pushing whatever treatment THEY deem valid on your child, regardless of your wishes? I mean, if they dx your child as adhd and you would rather treat naturally, you're fine with them saying "no - you have to use verified, approved medication"? If they decide your child needs to be placed elsewhere to adequately treat the condition, but you wish to seek an alternative, you are perfectly fine submitting to their wishes?

Because I think we all know that is what will happen eventually - if we allow mandated screening, we have to assume they will want approved treatment.

I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff: we have traditional gender roles, we're Catholic, I'm Libertarian, he's Republican, we're both conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee














FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Feb. 7, 2013 at 4:00 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting AutymsMommy:

Question for those who are fine with this bill.

I assume you are also fine with them then pushing whatever treatment THEY deem valid on your child, regardless of your wishes? I mean, if they dx your child as adhd and you would rather treat naturally, you're fine with them saying "no - you have to use verified, approved medication"? If they decide your child needs to be placed elsewhere to adequately treat the condition, but you wish to seek an alternative, you are perfectly fine submitting to their wishes?

Because I think we all know that is what will happen eventually - if we allow mandated screening, we have to assume they will want approved treatment.

You bring up a good point.  What happens if a child is deemed to have some mental disorder or issues?  I certainly would not take the school at their word in regards to treatment and I certainly would not be okay with the school shoving drugs at my child.

The more I read in to this and the more I am thinking on this, I am beginning to step off the fence on to the side of 'no', not supportive of this.

somuchlove4U
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 4:01 PM
2 moms liked this
No I don't agree with this for any kid, homeschooled or not. The government doesn't need so much control. Why are people willing to give the government more control?
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motha2daDuchess
by Bruja on Feb. 7, 2013 at 4:01 PM
1 mom liked this
my issues about home schooling, the people I know and have ever met IMHO aren't
qualified to teach anyone anything or may have mental health issues themselves


Quoting AutymsMommy:


Honest question (because I am sincerely curious when I see statements like this).

Why do you consider homeschoolers more crazy and "isolationist" than, say, a parent who chooses private school over public school? A parent who chooses private school, like a parent who chooses to homeschool, often does it because they want to control their child's environment (both socially and for academic reasons) on some level.

While I do know some homeschool parents who give all others a bad name by rarely participating in any activity outside of home and church, most that I know (these days) are heavily involved in co-ops, extracurricular activities and clubs, sports, etc.

We had to drop one activity just so we could have two days at home, where we weren't committed to being out of the house for one activity or another. Isolationist is the last descriptive I think of when I consider most of the homeschool families I know, lol.


Quoting SWasson:

This seems perfectly reasonable to me. I'm very wary of homeschooling families who fear that getting their children a psych assessment every few years would be an intrusion on their crazy, isolationist bubbles.




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lga1965
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM
I know....home schooling moms need evaluation ,in my opinion.
The ones I know are isolated and loving it.
Not a good sign.
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tooptimistic
by Kelly on Feb. 7, 2013 at 4:08 PM


My degree is in elementary education, I have no mental issues and I home school.  The other moms I who are homeschooling are doing a great job.  My daughter has health issues, what should I do?  My son would be left behind because of his disability, what should I do?  

Quoting motha2daDuchess:

my issues about home schooling, the people I know and have ever met IMHO aren't
qualified to teach anyone anything or may have mental health issues themselves


Quoting AutymsMommy:


Honest question (because I am sincerely curious when I see statements like this).

Why do you consider homeschoolers more crazy and "isolationist" than, say, a parent who chooses private school over public school? A parent who chooses private school, like a parent who chooses to homeschool, often does it because they want to control their child's environment (both socially and for academic reasons) on some level.

While I do know some homeschool parents who give all others a bad name by rarely participating in any activity outside of home and church, most that I know (these days) are heavily involved in co-ops, extracurricular activities and clubs, sports, etc.

We had to drop one activity just so we could have two days at home, where we weren't committed to being out of the house for one activity or another. Isolationist is the last descriptive I think of when I consider most of the homeschool families I know, lol.


Quoting SWasson:

This seems perfectly reasonable to me. I'm very wary of homeschooling families who fear that getting their children a psych assessment every few years would be an intrusion on their crazy, isolationist bubbles.






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