Thursday, May 19, 2011

New partnership will address mental health needs of students, families

For several years, District 191 has collaborated with 360 Communities to have their employees, family support workers, in our schools assisting families so that students can be more successful.
Recently, the school district was notified recently by 360 Communities that the district's contribution for the Family Support Worker (FSW) program would increase by 30 percent for the 2011-12 school year.
When faced with the option of increasing budget allocations for the FSW program or accepting a lower level of service, district administrators and building principals took the opportunity to evaluate other options to address current mental health needs of students and their families.
What has developed is a potential partnership with the Storefront Group, a local non-profit mental health care provider, which would result in having half-time licensed mental health counselors in each of the district's 10 elementary schools. A partnership with Storefront Group is also being discussed for the secondary schools.
The counselors would become part of each school community, respond to pressing mental health needs, proactively support student success, and be readily available in case of a crisis.
Storefront Group, with its licensed professional health care providers, has the ability to bill third parties (private health insurance and medical assistance). This makes the proposed level of services possible while also lowering the cost to the district.
The collaboration with 360 Communities and its Family Support Worker program has provided many benefits. However, by providing licensed mental health care professionals at reduced costs to the district, this new partnership with the Storefront Group will better address the current needs of students, families and schools.

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