Submitted by State Sen. Norm Needleman
(February 4, 2023) — For several years, the legislature has prioritized providing greater support for children’s mental health, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, as part of comprehensive legislation that I supported to expand health services in schools, we directed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds – approved by Congress in 2021 – to help school districts hire and retain school mental health workers. These are schools with a high rate of student use of mental health services and a high ratio of students-to-school-mental-health-workers.School districts will receive part of these funds for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 school years. Over the next three years, Regional School District 17 will receive $297,000. It is reassuring to know that students who may be at risk or who may be struggling will have professionals they can confide in and receive help from. This will make an important difference for children and their families in our area.
School Security Grants
New rounds of applications for two competitive state grant programs that help with the costs of security infrastructure improvements and upgrades to emergency communication systems at schools throughout Connecticut are available. The School Security Competitive Grant Program and Multi-Media Interoperable Communications System Program are open for applications from public and private K-12 schools and eligible childcare centers or preschools that can demonstrate they’ve received threats. There will be $15 million made available in this funding round; funds can be used to improve school security infrastructure or improvements aiding communications with law enforcement. More information can be found here; applications for both programs must be submitted by March 31, 2023.
Arts & Cultural Grants
From programs that support our children’s mental health and after school activities to venues that boost our tourism industry, our local arts and cultural organizations make year-round contributions that enrich the entire community.
Almost two dozen organizations were chosen to be awarded grants by CT Humanities, which were funded by the legislature. Among the recipients is the Haddam Historical Society, which will receive a grant of $8,100.These grants follow a previous grant distribution in December 2021 that was found to have supported job retention and growth along with K-12 education and technology improvements.