School Mental Health Update July 27, 2018

It’s been a big week for school-based mental health in Wisconsin:

DPI Awards Grants, Announces Plans for Increasing Funds. On Monday, the Department of Public Instruction announced the recipients of $3.25 million in grants to fund school mental health services in 64 school districts across the state. DPI received 141 grant applications totaling more than $8 million in funding requests. Citing the growing need for school mental health services and initiatives, DPI released their plans to seek additional resources in their 2019-21 state biennial budget request. Budget proposals include increasing grants for school-based mental health to $10 million, providing $44 million in aid for pupil services staff, and $5 million for statewide training and support with a new state program to fund parent peer specialists.

Federal Delegation Focuses on Wisconsin Success in School Mental Health. On Tuesday, representatives of the Coalition for Expanding School-Based Mental Health joined with other Wisconsin representatives in presenting to the Federal Commission on School Safety during their visit to the Adams Friendship School District to learn about Wisconsin’s success transforming school climate and culture to meet the behavioral health needs of students. The federal delegation included Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. The Coalition shared the successful work that has been done to grow the annual statewide summits on school mental health and support efforts to increase state funding for grants and sustainable Medicaid funding for consultation. (Event video)

DOJ Opens Second Round of School Safety Grants to Include Mental Health Initiatives. Tuesday also delivered news from the state Department of Justice as they announced opening a second round of school safety grants, which will include an expanded focus on mental health initiatives in schools. DOJ recently awarded more than $56 million in school safety grants to 735 schools and districts. The second round of grants will award the remaining $43 million available to support school safety initiatives. More details on eligible grant activities may be found here.

School Mental Health on Central Time. Capping off the day on Tuesday, WAFCA Executive Director Linda Hall was a guest on WPR Central Time – highlighting the work of the Coalition and the growth in school-based mental health services and state and federal support for these initiatives. Tune into the discussion here.