Dorchester County Health Department received funding in 1998 and opened School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) in two middle and two high schools. The success of these Centers is evidenced by enrollment exceeding 72% in the four school centers. The enthusiastic reception and daily usage of the health and mental health services has prompted policy makers to make a significant commitment of funding and in-kind support from both local and state agencies.
The Caring for Kids grant funding is being used to expand the mental health capacity in the Maces Lane Middle School SBHC. The funds provide for additional clinical mental health services and part-time child and adolescent psychiatric services which will increase assessments and treatment and expand group and family sessions, consultation, and in-service for school personnel. Additionally, the funds will help the Program Director and senior social worker coordinate with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Social Work. This collaboration with the School of Social Work will help to develop SBHC field placements to increase the pool of trained mental health clinicians. The Program Director and the staff will also be able to spend time developing linkages and coordinating services to better utilize existing substance abuse programs in the schools and to address barriers to private third party reimbursement.