SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  – To send more resources to schools committed to hiring additional social workers to address the mental and emotional well-being of students, state Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, D-Chicago, helped to pass bipartisan legislation creating the Safe Schools and Healthy Learning Environments Program.

“Young people deal with an incredible amount of emotional and mental stress which can be amplified by mental illness, family stressors and other triggers that make it more difficult to cope,” said Lilly. “These stresses can lead to other problems, like behavioral issues and acting out. Most of the time, these kids just need some help learning how to work through their emotions and guidance on how to deal with difficult situations. This legislation shows that we recognize the importance of helping kids work through these issues and ensuring that they learn to face these problems head-on rather than turning to bad behavior, substance abuse or violence as an outlet.”

House Bill 4208 allows schools to apply for state-funded grants to hire social workers or implement other evidence-based programs to improve school safety and encourage healthy school environments. Grants could not be used to increase school-based law enforcement.

“Along with the conversations about increasing school safety must be conversations about mental health and well-being of students,” Lilly said. “At such a young age, students have a difficult time navigating through life, and they should feel empowered to talk through their issues, not silenced. This bill and these grants will help us ensure that we aren’t letting these kids slip through the cracks.”

Rep Camille Y Lilly Rep Camille Lilly

78th District

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL   62706
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