Colorado School Discipline Laws & Regulations: School-based Behavioral Health Programs

Discipline Compendium

Colorado School Discipline Laws & Regulations: School-based Behavioral Health Programs

Category: Prevention, Behavioral Interventions, and Supports
Subcategory: School-based Behavioral Health Programs
State: Colorado

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LAWS

22-96-101. Legislative declaration.

(1) The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:

(h) School health professionals are in a unique position to educate, assess, and treat youth who have substance abuse or behavioral health issues.

(2) The general assembly further finds and declares that a program to provide matching grants to education providers to enhance the presence of school health professionals in schools throughout the state will facilitate better screening, education, and referral care coordination for students with substance abuse and other behavioral health needs.

22-96-102. Definitions.

As used in this article 96, unless the context otherwise requires:

(3) "School health professional" means a state-licensed or state-certified school nurse, school psychologist, school social worker, school counselor, or other state-licensed or state-certified professional qualified under state law to provide support services to children and adolescents, including mental health professionals licensed pursuant to article 245 of title 12.

22-96-103. Behavioral health care professional matching grant program–created–rules.

(1)(a) There is created in the department the behavioral health care professional matching grant program, referred to in this article 96 as the "program", to provide funding to education providers for the following purposes:

(I) To increase the presence of school health professionals in schools to provide behavioral health care to students who have mental health, substance use or misuse, or other behavioral health needs;

(II) To provide training and resources for school staff on the implementation of evidence-based programming on behavioral health education for all students;

(III) To allow school health professionals to connect students with services that are provided by community-based organizations for treatment and counseling for students who need behavioral health care; and

(IV) To provide behavioral health care services at recipient schools, including but not limited to screenings, counseling, therapy, referrals to community organizations, and training for students and staff on behavioral health issues.

(b) An education provider that receives a grant under the program shall use the money to increase the level of funding the education provider allocates to school health professionals to provide behavioral health care to students prior to receiving the grant and not to replace other funding sources allocated to provide school health professionals for students. The education provider may use the money to contract with a community partner for behavioral health care services, including hiring private health care professionals, training, screening, and preventive supports. Additionally, the education provider may use the money to provide direct services or consultation by a school health professional through telehealth technology. The department shall administer the program as provided in this article 96 and pursuant to rules adopted by the state board.

(2) The state board shall adopt rules pursuant to the "State Administrative Procedure Act", article 4 of title 24, C.R.S., for implementation of the program, including but not limited to rules regarding:

(a) The timeline for submitting applications to the department;

(b) The form of the grant application and any information in addition to that specified in section 22-96-104 (2) to be included in the application;

(c) Any criteria for awarding grants in addition to those specified in section 22-96-104 (3); and

(d) Any information to be included in the department's program report in addition to that required in section 22-96-105.

22-96-104. Behavioral health care professional matching grant program–application–criteria–grant awards.

(1) An education provider that seeks a grant from the program shall submit an application to the department in accordance with the rules adopted by the state board. The department shall review each application received from an education provider and make recommendations to the state board concerning whether a grant should be awarded to the education provider and the recommended amount of the grant. If the department determines an application is missing any information required by rule to be included with the application, the department may contact the education provider to obtain the missing information.

(2) At a minimum, each grant application must specify:

(a) The intended recipient schools, the number of health professionals employed by the education provider prior to receipt of a grant, and the ratio of students to school health providers in the schools operated by or receiving services from the education provider;

(b) The education provider's plan for use of the grant money, including the extent to which the grant money will be used to increase the number of school health professionals at recipient schools and to provide behavioral health care services at recipient schools, including screenings, counseling, therapy, referrals to community organizations, and training for students and staff on behavioral health issues;

(c) The education provider's plan for involving leaders at the recipient schools and in the surrounding community and the faculty at recipient schools in increasing the capacity and effectiveness of the behavioral health care services provided to students enrolled in or receiving educational services from the education provider;

(d) The extent to which the education provider has developed or plans to develop community partnerships to serve the behavioral health care needs of all of the students enrolled in or receiving educational services from the education provider;

(e) The extent to which the education provider has seen increased incidence of disciplinary actions for drug use or selling drugs, suicide attempts, deaths by suicide, bullying, adverse childhood experiences, or other factors that affect students' mental well-being;

(f) The extent to which the education provider has an existing program that can be expanded to increase the availability of school health professionals;

(g) The amount of matching funds that the education provider intends to provide to augment any grant moneys received from the program and the anticipated amount and source of any matching funds; and

(h) The education provider's plan for continuing to fund the increase in school health professional services following expiration of the grant.

(3) In reviewing applications and making recommendations, the department shall prioritize applications based on the following criteria and any other criteria adopted by rule of the state board:

(a) The education provider's need for additional school health professionals in schools, demonstrated by the local school and community data regarding student alcohol or drug use, access to a behavioral health care provider, or other data showing the need for a school health professional;

(b) The existence of a successful school health team in the education provider's school or schools;

(c) The amount of the matching money that the education provider or a community partner is able to commit;

(d) The education provider's emphasis and commitment to implement evidence-based and research-based programs and strategies;

(e) The likelihood that the education provider or community partner will continue to fund the increases in the level of school health professional services following expiration of the grant; and

(f) The extent to which an education provider prioritizes use of grant money for staff training related to behavioral health supports.

(4) The department and the state board shall consult with experts in the area of school health professional services when establishing any additional criteria for awarding grants and in reviewing applications and selecting grant recipients.

(5) Subject to available appropriations, the state board shall award grants to applying education providers pursuant to this section. The state board shall base the grant awards on the department's recommendations. Each grant shall have an initial term of one year. In making the award, the state board shall specify the amount of each grant.

(6) The department may expend no more than three percent of the moneys annually appropriated for the program to offset the costs incurred in implementing the program.

(7) Grant applications and reporting will be designed to limit administrative burden on applicants and recipients.

22-96-105. Reporting.

(1) In any fiscal year in which the general assembly makes an appropriation to the department for the purposes of the program, each education provider that receives a grant through the program shall report the following information to the department each year during the term of the grant:

(a) The number of school health professionals hired using grant moneys;

(b) A list and explanation of the services provided using grant moneys; and

(c) Any additional information that the state board, by rule, may require.

(2) On or before May 1, 2015, and on or before May 1 in each fiscal year thereafter in which the general assembly makes an appropriation to the department for the purposes of the program, the department shall submit to the education committees of the senate and the house of representatives, or any successor committees, a report that, at a minimum, summarizes the information received by the department pursuant to subsection (1) of this section. The department shall also post the report to its website.

22-102-102. Legislation declaration.

(1) The general assembly finds that:

(a) School mental health professionals, including school social workers, positively impact the school environment by working with young students and their families to identify safety-net insecurities, social and emotional skills deficits, instances of abuse and neglect, and mental health challenges;

(b) Identifying these student issues as early as possible increases the likelihood that problems can be resolved successfully and in a manner that decreases long-term problems with learning and other barriers to student success in the future;

(c) A pilot program that places a team of school mental health professionals in every pilot program school will allow the team, in partnership with classroom teachers, to provide needed support for young students and their families at a critical time in their education;

(d) A significant goal of the pilot program is to ensure that students of elementary age receive the right level of necessary services, in the right place, and at the right time;

(e) Receiving the right level of services, in the right place, and at the right time helps remove the burden placed on teachers to be everything to a student, from therapist to family counselor, and instead allows teachers to return to their primary task: Teaching; and

(f) The pilot program will enable parents, students, teachers, administrators, and school mental health professionals to create a safe, positive, and successful school learning environment.

(2) Therefore, the general assembly declares that the creation and successful implementation of a Colorado K-5 social and emotional health pilot program could have a profound impact on the early educational and social experiences of kindergarten through fifth-grade students, resulting in those students graduating to middle and high school programs with fewer social, emotional, and behavioral issues; adverse childhood experiences; disciplinary referrals and delinquent conduct; school absences and truancy; and incidences of self-harm.

22-102-103. Definitions.

As used in this article 102, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Department" means the department of education created and existing pursuant to section 24-1-115.

(2) "Pilot program" means the K-5 social and emotional health pilot program, created in section 22-102-104.

(3) "Pilot school" means a school selected by the department to participate in the pilot program created in section 22-102-104 for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

(4) "School counselor" means a counselor holding a master's degree in educational counseling and a professional special services license in Colorado with an endorsement in school counseling, including but not limited to the completion of course work in the areas of academic and social emotional development; assessment for social and emotional concerns, including suicide prevention and intervention; crisis intervention; social-emotional prevention programs, including character education and violence prevention; mental health, protective factors for at-risk students, and career awareness, exploration, and planning.

(5) "School district" means a school district organized and existing pursuant to law but does not include a local college district. "School district" includes the state charter school institute and a board of cooperative services that operates a school.

(6) "School mental health professional" means a school counselor, a school psychologist, or a school social worker.

(7) "School psychologist" means a school psychologist holding a master's degree and a professional special services license in Colorado with a school psychologist endorsement.

(8) "School social worker" means a social worker holding a master's degree and a professional special services license in Colorado with an endorsement in school social work, including but not limited to the completion of course work in the areas of school and special education law, including content covering functional behavior assessment and the development of behavior intervention plans.

22-102-104. K-5 social and emotional health pilot program–creation–selection of pilot schools–rules.

(1) There is created the K-5 social and emotional health pilot program in the department to determine the impact of dedicated school mental health professionals in kindergarten through fifth grade in elementary schools that have high-poverty, high-need students. The pilot program is implemented within the selected pilot schools and administered by the department as a pilot program for three consecutive school years, unless extended by the general assembly. Subject to available appropriations or gifts, grants, or donations for the three-year term of the pilot program, pursuant to section 22-102-106, the department shall employ or contract with a pilot program coordinator and contract for preliminary and final program evaluations of the pilot program. The department shall promulgate any rules necessary for the administration of the pilot program.

(2)(a) Subject to available appropriations or gifts, grants, or donations for the three-year term of the pilot program, no later than January 15 immediately preceding the first implementation year, the department shall select up to ten pilot schools to participate in the pilot program. If available appropriations and gifts, grants, or donations are insufficient to fully fund the pilot program, the department may select fewer than ten pilot schools to participate in the pilot program. The department shall select pilot schools that exhibit the characteristics set forth in subsection (2)(b) of this section and that are appropriate test schools to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the pilot program. The pilot schools must demonstrate a willingness to participate in the pilot program and to collect the data and information necessary for the evaluation of the pilot program.

(b) The department shall select pilot schools, including rural, small, and geographically diverse schools, which schools shall be located in a school district that has a high rate of youth suicide, attempted suicide, or suicidal ideation; have a high-poverty student population and a high percentage of students who experience or may experience food insecurity, as evidenced by the number or percentage of students in the school who are eligible for free and reduced-priced meals; and may include schools:

(I) In large, metropolitan school districts;

(II) That have significant ethnic, cultural, and language diversity within their student populations, which may include students from refugee populations;

(III) That have a high number or density of youth who are students in out-of-home placement, as defined in section 22-32-138;

(IV) That are in a school district that has a high percentage of students who are adjudicated delinquent; and

(V) That are in a school district that has a plan in place to recruit, hire, and retain a diverse workforce that reflects the race, ethnicity, and other characteristics of the student body.

(c) Prior to a selected school implementing the pilot program pursuant to this article 102, the school must notify all parents or legal guardians of students at the school of the school's selection as a pilot school.

22-102-105. Implementation of pilot program.

(1) In the first and subsequent years of operation of the pilot program, each pilot school shall employ or contract with additional school mental health professionals so that each of grades one through five and the kindergarten program in each pilot school has a school mental health professional dedicated to each grade and the kindergarten program. If a single grade or the kindergarten program has more than two hundred fifty students, additional school mental health professionals must be added to the grade or kindergarten program to maintain a ratio of approximately one school mental health professional per two hundred fifty students, as determined by the pilot school. A small pilot school shall maintain a ratio of approximately one school mental health professional per two hundred fifty students, as determined by the pilot school. At least one of the school mental health professionals at each pilot school must be a school social worker.

(2) The goal of the pilot program is for a school mental health professional to develop an ongoing relationship with pilot school students and to follow those students, to the extent possible, as the students advance through the grades at the pilot school. This will allow the school mental health professional to understand the needs of the students and their families over time and to help address those needs over time, if necessary. To achieve this goal, school mental health professionals may be assigned to a cohort of students by grade or, in a smaller school, by multiple grades. School mental health professionals in each pilot school shall work as a team to address the academic and social-emotional needs of the pilot school's students and to create a safe and positive school learning environment through additional behavioral health supports.

(3) Throughout the duration of the pilot program, the pilot school must employ or contract with, at the pilot school's expense, the same number of school mental health professionals employed by or contracted with the pilot school during the school year immediately preceding the first year of implementation of the pilot program so that additional money for the pilot program supplements, but does not supplant, the pilot school's existing expenditures for school mental health professional positions prior to the operation of the pilot program.

(4)(a) In implementing the pilot program, the school mental health professionals shall work as a team, with each professional providing services to students and offering training and resources to school faculty and administrators that are authorized under the school mental health professional's special services license and endorsement.

(b) In addition, school mental health professionals shall, consistent with the school mental health professional's job duties and licensure:

(I) Provide the school with resources to develop and improve the social and emotional health of students, including resources translated into the primary languages of the student population to the extent possible, and create a safe and positive learning environment through additional behavioral health supports; and

(II) Provide social and emotional skill building in the school and with students in the classroom.

(c) School mental health professionals may, consistent with the school mental health professional's job duties and licensure:

(I) Assist students and their families with applying for and obtaining necessary public benefits for which each student and the student's family is eligible;

(II) Provide services and supports to students who have an individualized education program, as provided in section 22-20-108;

(III) Consult and coordinate with other school professionals on behalf of students and support families accessing community-based resources as needed and appropriate; and

(IV) Identify food insecurity, homelessness, and other issues affecting students and make referrals to services within the community, bringing those services into the school setting where possible.

(d) As appropriate, and to the extent possible, the school mental health professional must provide services or arrange for services to be provided for students at the school and during school hours or when student busing is available.

(e) Services provided by the school mental health professional to the student must include the student's family and household, where appropriate. The school mental health professional is specifically authorized to make home visits when appropriate under the circumstances and consistent with licensure.

(5) Each pilot school's team of school mental health professionals shall participate in the school's or school district's multi-tiered systems of support process to assist in developing appropriate plans for the mental health and behavioral needs of individual students.

(6) Each pilot school, or each pilot school's governing body, where appropriate, shall collect, transmit, and retain any data and information necessary for the evaluation of the pilot program pursuant to section 22-102-106. Each pilot school shall record the unique student identifier, as defined in section 22-16-103, for all students enrolled in the pilot school.

(7) A student who is home-schooled but who participates in extracurricular activities or athletic programs at a school that is selected as a pilot school is excluded from any data collection or reporting requirements pursuant to this article 102.

22-102-106. Pilot program coordinator–evaluation of pilot program–student impacts and outcomes.

(1) The department shall employ or contract with a pilot program coordinator to oversee the implementation of the pilot program across the pilot schools. The pilot program coordinator must be a school social worker who shall work with each pilot school's team of school mental health professionals. The duties of the pilot program coordinator include, at a minimum:

(a) Coordinating data collection and program evaluation requirements with the professional program evaluator retained pursuant to subsection (2) of this section;

(b) Serving as a contact person and resource for teams of school mental health professionals in the pilot schools;

(c) Helping pilot schools identify successful practices for recruiting and retaining mental health professionals;

(d) Sharing best practices relating to the pilot program and its implementation at the pilot schools; and

(e) Ensuring fidelity to the goals of the pilot program across the pilot schools.

(2)(a) The department shall select a professional program evaluator to complete a preliminary evaluation of the pilot program on or before September 1 of the second full school year of implementation of the pilot program and a final evaluation of the pilot program to be completed on or before September 1 immediately following the conclusion of the final school year of the pilot program. Subject to available appropriations or gifts, grants, or donations for the three-year term of the pilot program, the department shall contract with the evaluator in the school year prior to the implementation of the pilot program in the pilot schools to create a process for the collection and transmission of data and information to the evaluator to ensure that the evaluator has the data and information necessary to complete the preliminary and final reports concerning the impact and outcomes of the pilot program. The pilot program evaluator, in conjunction with the department, shall select a group of control schools that have school characteristics and student demographics similar to those of the pilot schools to serve as a control group for purposes of evaluating the impacts and outcomes of the pilot program on participating students and pilot schools. Data collected for pilot schools and control group schools must include data from school climate and healthy schools surveys for any grade in which such surveys have been created.

(b) The department shall select a professional program evaluator that has the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of services provided by the pilot program and the resulting impacts and outcomes of the pilot program on the student cohorts participating in the pilot program. The department is encouraged, but is not required, to contract with a state institution of higher education to complete the evaluation of the pilot program.

(c) The department and the pilot schools shall cooperate fully with the pilot program evaluator's collection and analysis of data and information relating to the pilot program's impact and outcomes. The department, pilot schools, the pilot program coordinator, and the contracted evaluator shall comply with all state and federal laws relating to the confidentiality of academic and medical records of students and shall provide aggregated data where appropriate.

(d) The pilot program evaluator shall determine the impact of the pilot program on students' academic, mental, social-emotional, and physical health and well-being. The evaluator shall collect and analyze data relating to student and school outcomes, which outcomes may include:

(I) The increase or decrease in students' disciplinary referrals, either within the pilot school, or pilot school's district, if relevant, or with law enforcement, and the increase or decrease in students adjudicated delinquent within the pilot school's district;

(II) The increase or decrease in students' lost instruction time due to disciplinary action or visits to the school nurse or school counselor;

(III) The increase or decrease in excused and unexcused absences and truancy;

(IV)

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