Cheers to Massachusetts! SUCCESS! You’ve Given Social & Emotional Learning a PERMANENT Seat at the Table in Massachusetts!

Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts

The strength of our SEL4MA membership was on full display in the last couple of weeks—and the result is significant legislation to promote social and emotional learning across the Commonwealth.  On Thursday, Governor Baker signed into law An Act for Prevention and Access to Appropriate Care and Treatment of Addiction (H.4742).  Many of us took action, sending hundreds of emails to state legislators, and it paid off with important provisions being included in the bill!

The new law establishes a:

  • Commission for Community-based Behavioral Health Promotion and Prevention to advance state and local policies, programs, systems, and practices to promote positive mental, emotional, and behavioral health and prevent behavioral health issues including substance use, mental illness, and youth violence;
  • Behavioral Health Promotion, Prevention, and Early Intervention (BeHaPPE) Trust Fund to fund a statewide vision for promoting behavioral health and preventing behavioral health issues through evidence-based programing.

SEL4MA is explicitly named as having a seat on the permanent Commission. And the Commission will advise on allocation of grants from the Trust Fund!

According to Executive Director Jim Vetter:

“Serving on this permanent Commission gives SEL4MA the opportunity to continue to work closely with top agency officials, legislators, and other leaders to promote social and emotional health and well-being across the Commonwealth. And the Trust Fund promises to provide much-needed support to communities for this vital work. We deeply appreciate the leadership of Rep. Denise Garlick in extending and building on the visionary initiative from former Rep. Jim Cantwell and Promote Prevent Commission Director Ben Thomas.”

This major win puts SEL4MA in a strong position to influence policy across the Commonwealth. So we’re gearing up for more advocacy work ahead. The more of us who engage, the more we’ll be able to accomplish together!

If you haven’t already, please join us on the SEL4MA Policy and Advocacy Committee or get involved with one of our other SEL4MA committees.

Thank you for your continued efforts to promote effective social and emotional learning across Massachusetts!

Yours in action,

Ellen P. Gibson, J.D.
Chair, Policy & Advocacy Committee

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