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NEW PARTNERSHIPS OFFER MENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS

DPSCD receives more than $5 million through Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network and U of M Trails. Partnerships will result in students receiving school-based care, and school staff receiving targeted professional development in best practices  October 21, 2019

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) in partnership with Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN) and the University of Michigan’s TRAILS (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students) is expanding behavioral and mental health services for students and families through funding totaling $5 million. DWIHN awarded the District a two-year, $2 million grant and TRAILS is providing $3 million in support services through its program to cover school-based behavioral health services and resources. The schools involved in the DWIHN School Success Initiative pilot program are: Cody, East English Village Preparatory, and Pershing High Schools; Dixon, Mason and Ronald Brown Elementary Schools. The District identified these schools to provide greater resources for students who are experiencing more challenges to learning than other schools and feeder patterns.  

“Unfortunately, federal and state education funding does not take into account that our schools and their employees must overcome the daily socio-emotional challenges our children face every day. This means we cannot simply focus on teaching and learning. This grant starts the process of building an integrated system of support and care for students where we properly apply real time screenings, intervention, and support on school campuses to our families and students,” said Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, DPSCD. “As a school system we cannot wait for others to move with a sense of urgency to support our children and the greater community. We continue to champion the whole child approach to raise student achievement and help empower our students and families to remove the barriers that impede their academic development. Our teachers have been demanding trauma informed care and we are now finally addressing it through this grant and plan to expand the model districtwide with greater non-profit, health care, and philanthropic support.”  

The School Success Initiative will provide in-school supports for behavioral health through a dedicated service team established at participating schools. The team is comprised of a school social worker, counselor, community-based mental health provider/behavioral health therapist and a nurse. In addition to screenings and therapy, families will also be connected to community-based resources aside from therapy. Staff will be trained in methods to identify behavioral health conditions, respond to mental health crisis and administer evidence-based strategies to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.  

In conjunction with this grant, the District is also partnering with the University of Michigan’s TRAILS Program, which will provide professional development for staff in all DPSCD buildings PreK-12 on best practices for supporting student mental health and wellness; and will also offer mental health tools and resources for staff, students, and families; and technical support districtwide. TRAILS has engaged the Youth Policy Lab (YPL) at the U-M Ford School of Public Policy to conduct a needs assessment that will identify district priorities, inform future programming, and provide a benchmark for program evaluation. YPL helps community and government agencies make better decisions through data collection and rigorous evaluation design. The multi-year partnership with TRAILS is supported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Medicaid Match program (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), and generous local funders, including the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and several other foundations, adding more than $3 million to strengthen the District’s efforts. 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with DPSCD, where our goal is to provide the training, tools, and resources that will enable staff to respond to students' mental health needs more effectively and efficiently, said TRAILS Program Director, Elizabeth Koschmann. 

DPSCD is committed to showing significant outcomes overtime, which is why the District is creating a sustainable plan with DWIHN for future funding. DPSCD is adding a student electronic health record system that enables DPSCD health staff to track and coordinate students’ health services, in the end allowing the District to take a closer look at outcomes from this initiative. When students begin to show improved health outcomes, DPSCD will be able to strengthen the program with additional funding and expand to every DPSCD feeder pattern. 

The District is actively pursuing to hire a behavioral health director and will also be contracting nurses and social workers for this initiative, for more information, visit detroitk12.org/careers. 

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