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New state public health law means changes for summer camps


A new state law makes it easier for children’s camps to hire certain healthcare providers including mental health therapists, social workers, and other specialized healthcare providers. 

It also permits speech therapists, occupational therapists and others to be staffed at camps for children with developmental disabilities. 

It affects overnight, day, and traveling camps for children.

“Our state’s children 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 Sen. Samra Brouk, chair of the State Senate’s Mental Health Committee, and sponsor of the legislation.

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

The bill passed the State Senate with a unanimous vote in June. It was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week. 

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

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.