Governor Signs Three Bills Authored by Senator Cortese Focused on Student & Youth Wellness

Governor Signs Three Bills Authored by Senator Cortese Focused on Student & Youth Wellness

Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law three bills authored by Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) centered around educational and social support systems to serve our younger generation:

·      SB 692 – The Special Education Inclusion Act

·      SB 1184 – School-Linked Services Coordinators

·      SB 384 – The Family Finding Act


SB 692 - The Special Education Inclusion Act

“Inclusion” – or providing the opportunity for students with disabilities to learn and engage with their peers in general education classrooms – has been demonstrated to increase academic and graduation outcomes for not only special education students, but all students. We see this improvement in other states that have increased their inclusion rates, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Florida.

California’s current rate of inclusion is 10 points lower than the national average – and we have made almost no progress on this rate in the last decade. Existing state policies and practices incentivize the segregation of students with disabilities into separate classes even when students are capable of performing at grade level.

SB 692, sponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE), will help to ensure that students with disabilities are no longer segregated and excluded from general education settings by requiring the state to link federal special education indicators to the California School Dashboard and make that data capable of being disaggregated and searchable.

Inclusive programs have been shown to increase academic and graduation outcomes for both special education and non-special education students,” says Senator Cortese. “SB 692 is necessary to align the state's general education and special education accountability systems. I’m grateful to the Santa Clara County Office of Education and Governor Newsom for working to ensure equity in the classroom.”

SB 692 sets a first-of its-kind precedent by making clear that all students with disabilities are general education students first.,” says Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. “There is still more work to do, but this bill will begin to transform how schools plan and budget to ensure that inclusion and inclusive practices are a priority. I am so grateful for Senator Cortese's leadership on SB 692 and the unwavering dedication he demonstrated over the last two years to ensure that this bill was successful.”


SB 1184 – School-Linked Services Coordinators

Inspired by Santa Clara County’s “School-Linked Services”, a program championed by Senator Dave Cortese that connects students and families to county mental health counseling, case management, and public health services on district and school site campuses, SB 1184 would improve care coordination for students accessing behavioral health services.

To “close the loop” on community-clinical referrals in school settings, SB 1184 would define, under California Civil Code, a “School-Linked Services” coordinator as those individuals or entities, including licensed educational psychologists, located on a school campus or under contract by a county behavioral health provider for treatment and health care operations and ensure that these “School-Linked Services” coordinators can better refer both students and families to mental health treatment and care.  

“By expanding our statewide strategy to provide school-based mental health services to students, we can ensure that services provided among various entities are sustainable, equitable, and better coordinated to support the overall health and well-being of all children,” says Senator Dave Cortese. We must meet students where they are – on their school campuses, where students are up to 21 times more likely to access these critical services

SB 1184 is supported by the California School Nurses Organization and the California Association of School Counselors.


SB 384 – The Family Finding Act

SB 384, sponsored by the California Judges Association (CJA), requires that counties implement best practice family finding protocols to increase the likelihood that a child removed from parental care, for instance as a result of parental neglect or abuse, be placed with relatives. 

Research demonstrates that a child placed with relatives will have better physical and emotional health outcomes long-term than a child placed in foster care or congregate care. A recent BMC Public Health study conducted over thirty years followed the lives of over 160,000 children who were placed in foster and congregate care and concluded that these children experienced worse health outcomes than children who grew up in a family environment.

The Family Finding Act will ensure families can stick together,” says Senator Cortese. “Children deserve permanent homes, a critical aspect of their well-being.”

The California Judges Association President, and Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg says: "The California Judges Association (CJA) and the Juvenile Court Judges of California, a section of the CJA, are thrilled to have SB 384 signed into law by Governor Newsom. SB 384 will provide more children with a permanent home with relatives as more counties will be encouraged to use Family Finding, considered a best practice tool for social workers and probation officers when children are removed from parental care. CJA and all juvenile court judges so appreciate the hard work and dedication of Senator Cortese and his staff on SB 384.”