Senator Metzger’s Bill Allowing Summer Camps to Hire Mental Health Professionals Passes Senate Unanimously

Albany, NY…Today the State Senate unanimously passed Senator Metzger’s bill (S3834) that would permit children’s summer camps—including camps for children with developmental disabilities and for children who have experienced emotional trauma—to hire licensed social workers, physical therapists, mental health care professionals, occupational therapists, and other licensed professionals. 

“Summer camp can be an incredible experience for kids, but we have to recognize that many children need additional support to truly flourish at camp, just as they do in school,” said Senator Metzger (SD-42). “This legislation will ensure that children with physical and mental health needs can access the care they need to thrive and enjoy camp to the fullest.”

New York State Camp Directors Association (NYSCDA) has advocated that the current law, excluding mental health professionals from the list of permissible services a regulated day and overnight camp may engage on behalf of camp attendees, is outdated and makes campers less safe.

“We thank Senator Metzger and the Senate for recognizing the need to ensure parity between the physical and mental health needs of children attending summer camps and urge the Assembly to do the same,” said Dan Weir, President of NYSCDA. “As camp directors we see firsthand the debilitating mental health issues children and staff face today. From the child who identifies as LGBTQ+, to the camper who is suffering from disordered eating or is contemplating suicide, it is our responsibility to ensure they are safe and unfortunately current law makes that extremely difficult.”

“This legislation will provide peace of mind to parents, knowing that their children are in the capable hands of licensed practitioners at summer camps, and I urge the Assembly to pass this important piece of legislation this year so we can see it signed into law,” said Metzger.

The Assembly "same as" bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Tom Abinanti (AD-92),  has been stalled in the Higher Education Committee for several years.