Social Workers in Schools Program Approved by Nevada Legislature's Interim Finance Committee

Press Release


Greg Bortolin
Carson City, NV - June 30, 2016

Immediate Release

CARSON CITY, Nev.  - The Nevada Legislature's Interim Finance Committee today voted to approve an allocation of $11,188,800 for a block grant program in Fiscal Year 2017 to school districts and charter schools to provide for social workers or other licensed mental health works in schools with identified needs.

"I would like to thank our legislators for believing in this program as a pivotal way to protect children in our schools," said Edward Ableser, Ph.D., Director of the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment in the Nevada Department of Education. "New schools and districts have applied for funding and it's a relief to principals and staff that their professionals will remain at their schools to assist in creating a positive school climate and culture."

The 2015 Legislature passed SB 515, Section 23, which funded social workers and other licensed mental health workers from January until May of this year. The Department of Education's Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment placed 148 professionals at 123 of the neediest schools in the pilot year of the "Social Workers in Schools Program."

"I can't imagine not having them (social workers) now just because of the positive impact they've had," said Robert Mars, principal at Silverado High School in Las Vegas, which brought on two social workers last spring. "It's better than what I expected."

Principal Lee Conley from Eagle Valley Middle School in Carson City said having a Social Worker on site has provided support for not only our most needy students, but their families, as well.

"They can work more intensively with these families that require more than what we can typically offer them in a school setting," Conley said.

Amber Steffener, a counselor at Durango High School in Las Vegas said having the school social workers here has ensured that everyone who needs the care receives help.

"It's been great knowing that I can trust that my students who are the most vulnerable and need the most help get it," Steffener said. "Thank you for supporting this program in our school. Thank you for helping our students."

The Nevada Department of Education will be notifying districts of these awards immediately.