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News at PFH > April-3-2018

New Program will bring behavioral healthcare services to two schools in Independence, MO

New Program will bring behavioral healthcare services to two schools in Independence, MO

A new program being introduced by Preferred Family Healthcare will provide prevention and behavioral health services to students in two schools in the Independence, MO, School District.

The Jackson County Community Children's Services Fund awarded a $126,000 grant to PFH to fund StepUP (School Based Therapeutic Empowerment Prevention Uplift Project), according to PFH Vice President of Treatment Services Nancy Atwater. The program will be provided to students attending Nowlin Middle School and Van Horn High School in Independence.

As part of the program, PFH will place a mental health therapist at each of the schools, along with a school liaison, who will be the point of contact for the school when coordinating behavioral health services. Atwater said the project will allow them to provide therapy for about 80 students who are in need of mental health services.

Atwater said the project includes a prevention program called Second Steps for about 50 middle school students which will focus on prevention of issues students often deal with in the school environment, such as bullying, violence, and substance use.

Atwater said her staff is very excited about the program and the benefits to the students at these two schools. "By enhancing the mental health services for these students, we will be giving them an opportunity to be successful in school," she said. "If their mental health needs are being met, they can more easily focus on school and learning."

She said the goals they hope to meet at the end of the project include:
  • Decrease truancy/increase attendance -- 65% of youth participants will increase attendance in school during the project, based on the schools attendance data
  • Increase Social Connectedness -- 65% of youth participants receiving the Second Step curriculum will experience increased social/community connectedness during the project
  • Mental Health Functioning -- 70% of the youth participants receiving therapy will experience an increase in functioning to WNLs (Within Normal Limits) using established mental health measurements during the project
  • Family Engagement -- 50% of parents/family members will engage in their child's treatment process, at least 3 times during the calendar year
The Jackson County Community Children's Services Fund is financed by the collection of a one-eighth-cent sales tax that passed in November of 2016. Atwater noted that PFH has worked very closely with the Jackson County Tax Initiative for the past five years to put together this program to help the area's youth.


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