Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Proposed Connecticut Bill Mandates Mental Health Assessments for Homeschooled Children

Posted by   + Show Post

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 (31-40):
RunningMommaof2
by Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 2:21 PM
I don't see an issue with it, but it shouldn't be limited to only homeschooled children and I don't know how they would enforce that. There are plenty of adults that slip through the cracks because their mental illness doesn't begin to appear until adulthood. Sometimes it I hard to get help as an adult if you haven't been through the system as a child. That NEEDS to change. I'm in CT btw.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm not a fan of this.  I get the sentiment.  I don't think there is a parent among us that isn't trying to figure out a *why* to what happened in CT, or a way to ensure that this doesn't happen again.  But I wouldn't like a forced mental evaluation on my child.  It just feels wrong to me.  Regardless of where they are schooled.

tooptimistic
by Kelly on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:12 PM
4 moms liked this


Not everyone who home schools is crazy or an isolationist.  I home school because my son is high functioning autistic and would get left behind in public school.  I also have a daughter who has a half a right lung only, so the exposure to germs at school would be horrible for her.

Most homeschool families Ihave meet are very normal.

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.



LilyofPhilly
by Gold Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:17 PM
I predicted this years ago.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:26 PM
2 moms liked this


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 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














Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I find the title and the article to be seperate issues. Misleading.

TCgirlatheart
by TC on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM
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.





Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM

The first thing I noticed is that the title of this article in only half correct.  Nice ploy at leaving out that public school children are included.

On to read more.

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:33 PM


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.

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM

I'm on the fence on this one.

I can see where this may be beneficial.  There could very well be issues, aspects of a child's daily life, that could be caught before a parent catches on, or cares to accept and take action.

On the other hand, this could open up doors for children to be labeled incorrectly and for children to be segregated in to groups that will only cause further divide and issues.

Besides, if a child is found to have mental health issues...what then.......exactly?  A note sent home to the parents with directions on how to proceed?

This particular article is slanted.  It tells me the author has no issues with subjecting public school children to something like this while wanting to protect those that are home schooled.

There is already enough division between public and home schooling.  This slanted article is only adding to that.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN