School counseling services bill passes House

Steele’s legislation would help students thrive in school

HARRISBURG, March 25 – The House today passed legislation introduced by state Rep. Mandy Steele, D-Allegheny, to bolster counseling services for students.

The School Counseling Services Act (H.B. 1665) would require schools to implement comprehensive counseling services that provide support to all students. It would also direct school counselors to spend at least 80% of their time providing direct and indirect services to students.

“As the mother of four children, I worry about their mental health, just like many parents in the U.S.,” Steele said. “Nearly 65% of students ask for mental health services, and we must equip our schools to meet their needs. This legislation would ensure our students thrive by requiring schools to assess students’ needs and develop a comprehensive plan to address them. By prioritizing our students’ mental health and well-being, we help prepare them to meet life’s challenges with greater resilience.”

Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation – the only one – that does not require comprehensive school counseling services in all schools. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, this was an area of concern, and is only more so today,” said Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, who co-sponsored the bill with Steele. “Our students have been asking for help. Our professional school staff have been asking for help. It’s time that we as a commonwealth step up to help them and invest in these services – and in our students’ futures.”

The bill passed the House by a vote of 102-99. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

As state representative for the 33rd Legislative District, Steele continues to champion policies that prioritize the well-being of children across the commonwealth.