* Republican state Senate candidate Seth McMillan on school shootings…
To me, uh, the discussion should be about why do we have a generation of kids who are, you know, is it a, is it, is it the family, is it the decline in, in, in the family unit, do we have broken homes that these kids are coming from?
[Raising his voice] Why do we have a government bureaucracy of social workers that aren’t doing their jobs?
* From Chronicle Media…
In fiscal year 2016, more than 20,000 Illinois youth — many of them elementary and high school students — were treated by a mental health agency, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The agency reported that children from birth through age 17 made up 28 percent of the 72,826 people statewide who received treatment in the last fiscal year at a mental health agency.
Due to their overwhelming caseloads, school social workers, in some cases, will not see a student unless the individual is suicidal or an immediate danger to others. Students with mental issues deemed non-life-threatening are often given an appointment weeks away.
“If I could clone myself to make five more of me, I think I could be adequately handling my caseload,” said Katie Smiley, a social worker at Larkin High School in Elgin. “The burden becomes heavier and heavier every day. We need more support. We need help.” […]
Susan Hickey, a retired Chicago Public Schools social worker, noted before a hearing of the Mental Health Committee Oct. 2 that CPS has one social worker for every 1,250 students, [one fifth] the recommended ratio put forth by the School Social Work Association of America [of one per 250].
“I still hear from social workers at CPS and they are literally crying their eyes out,” Hickey said. “They can’t handle what they have to deal with.”
Hickey noted that there are more security officers in the Chicago Public Schools than social workers and counselors combined.
“Security officers are not able to handle kids in crisis situations,” Hickey said. “That is not their training.”
…Adding… I forgot to mention that the new school funding reform law sets some targets to get to that 1:250 ratio.