New York public health law pushes for changes in summer camps

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ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – New state law makes it easier for children’s camps to hire certain health care providers, including mental health therapists, social workers and other specialist care providers .

It also allows speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists and others to be staffed in camps for children with intellectual disabilities.

It affects night, day and itinerant children’s camps.

“The children of our state have been through so much this year because of COVID-19, and it is especially important that they have access to mental health care,” said State Senator Samra Brouk, President. of the state Senate mental health committee and sponsor of the legislation.

Previously, camps were limited to hiring certain healthcare workers, such as registered nurses and paramedics. The change comes after more than a year of distance learning and prolonged isolation for many children due to the pandemic.

The bill was passed by the state Senate unanimously in June. It was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last week.

“With the signing of this bill, parents can rest assured that sending their child to camp will not mean removing them from specialist mental health care if they need it,” Brouk said.

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