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Fresno County to expand school-based mental health treatment and early intervention programs and services

Post Date:06/04/2018 3:26 PM


Date: June 4, 2018


Fresno County to expand school-based mental health treatment and early intervention programs and services


FRESNO, CA – The Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) and Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS) are partnering to address mental health treatment and early-intervention needs throughout County school districts.

The partnership, effective July 1 upon approval from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, is a five-year agreement as part of the Fresno County DBH system of care. This partnership aims to significantly enhance and expand an integrated system of care for behavioral health service needs of youth and families, as well as to expand Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) in school settings.

“This is an important step in helping to reduce the long-term adverse impact on individuals and their families that can result from untreated mental illness,” says Dawan Utecht, Director of the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health. “We want to remove the stigma of mental health and ensure education and resources are available to those in need, particularly those who are most vulnerable such as our students. These programs are highly effective, with a 73-100 percent reduction in student suspensions/expulsions at various schools, and we look forward to seeing students and families benefit as a result.”

The agreement allows for the gradual periodic expansion of services to various geographical school sites, with the intent to add other satellite school locations around main hubs. Satellite sites can be expanded to include additional services as determined by needs. Through this joint collaboration, DBH and FCSS will, over time, allocate clinical staffing so that services will be accessible in all school sites across the County.

The agreement includes mental health treatment services provided to youth through each hub and satellite site. Services include individual therapy, group therapy, intensive case management, rehabilitation, medication, and other related services. Prevention and early intervention services include screening, assessment, linkage to care, training of school personnel, suicide prevention, and expansion of school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

The total cost over the term of the agreement is not to exceed $111,210,977 to be funded by Mental Health Services Act and Medi-Cal funds, at no additional cost to the County.

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