School-Based Mental Health Services
In 2008 the State of Minnesota offered grant money to increase the availability of both school-based mental health services. The local collaboratives joined with Northwestern Mental Health Center (NWMHC) to secure state grant funding to improve Children's Therapeutic Support Services (CTSS) in the region, to replace the Local Collaborative Time Study (LCTS) funding with other money, and thus to help sustain the School Social Worker (SSW) positions in all schools in the six-county region. As the only full CTSS provider in the region, NWMHC is serving as the host for the School Based Mental Health Services (SBMHS) grant, and will be providing support and supervision for grant-funded activities.
Current funding for SSW positions generally relies upon a combination of LCTS, School District, Special Ed., and possibly some direct County Social Services money. The State of Minnesota has gradually reduced LCTS money, exposing the SSW positions to significant underfunding. We are currently at the end of year three and are uncertain, but hopeful, as to future funding for the School-Based Mental Health Services.
It is our effort to attempt to establish sustainability for the schools based on the following goals:
Expand mental health and skills building services to more children and families in every community in the region.
Provide expanded crisis services to children throughout the region.
Allow school social workers to continue serving students and families in their schools.
Give school social workers the opportunity to advance to Mental Health Practitioner or to Mental Health Professional status as appropriate utilizing the clinical supervision available with these grants.
The grant funding is different in that the State offered the money on a "fee-for-service" basis only. This meant that the funding was available only through a billing process for services rendered. Fortunately, the majority of services to be billed are services the SSW was already providing.
Other services provided for in the SBMHS grant include clinical supervision for achieving MH Practitioner status and for Medical Assistance (MA) billing, support for the North Star Summer Program for year-round CTSS for children, and support for training SBMHS social workers. The training will include strategies for maximizing the funding available through effective billing practices, mental health awareness, stigma reduction and collaboration of services.
If you have any questions regarding the School Based
Mental Health Grant, please contact:
Jessica Shockman, MSW
School Based Mental Health Services Coordinator/Mental Health Practioner
503 Bruce Street
Crookston, MN 56716