The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS), part of the George Washington University (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) and the Bainum Family Foundation announced last week four partner elementary and middle schools that will participate in its new Community of Practice initiative.
These elementary and middle schools, all located in and/or serving Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, DC, will receive three years of training and technical assistance to strengthen universal prevention efforts, integrate academic and social-emotional data for decision-making, and coordinate resources between the school, families and community as each school implements the best practices that fit its unique needs and evaluates outcomes.
The initiative is part of the Foundation’s $4.1 million commitment to expand school-based mental health in the District of Columbia.
According to Dr. Olga Acosta Price, director of CHHCS, children and families in low-income DC neighborhoods have an elevated need for mental health services due to the stress factors that result from living in poverty, coupled with low availability of resources (clinics and practitioners) in their communities. Further, available services in DC focus largely on treatment for high-need children rather than early identification and prevention for all children.
“We will help the partner schools adopt the most effective practices known in the field, build their capacity to serve more children and families, and increase the likelihood that these school-based mental health supports will be sustained over time,” Dr. Acosta Price said.
CHHCS supports child wellness and success in school by promoting collaborative solutions and partnerships in communities that bridge health and education. The organization uses a public health lens to apply its expertise in children’s health and education issues to build and sustain equitable environments for children to thrive.