Description: The program utilizes evidence-based therapy models to address behavioral problems such as difficulty focusing, explosive anger outbursts, intrusive sadness, difficulty relating to and interacting with peers, self-esteem issues, bullying, trauma (domestic violence, child abuse), changes in household (parent has new partner, new siblings, foster care, adoption, reunification with parents).
The program takes place in Green Valley Elementary School and involves therapy on a consistent basis. The therapist is in constant communication with school staff. Often, the students see the therapist multiple times a week. When the students are escalated, the therapist is involved in de-escalating them. The therapist is involved in the development of Behavior Support Plans and Individual Education Plans. On-site support for staff is provided by the therapist.
The therapist is currently at Green Valley Elementary every day for 3 hours a day. Medicaid and Green Valley Elementary cover the expenses of therapy. Bloomington Meadows TeleMedicine Psychiatric Care was identified to refer children to who need psychiatric care. The Resource Coordinator of Green Valley Elementary is committed to taking the children and their parents to appointments, if needed.
The implementation of the program involved Family and Children’s Place meeting with Green Valley Elementary to develop a contract specifying when therapist would be at school and who will pay for services. Also, identifying a room at the school for therapy to ensure that sessions are confidential.
Population of focus: Children in elementary school
Level of focus: Individual, Family
Background: Family and Children’s Place implemented school-based therapy services at Green Valley Elementary in New Albany, Indiana at the beginning of the school year in 2011. Partner organizations include — Green Valley Elementary School, Alternative School, Bloomington Meadows TeleMedicine Psychiatric Care, Wellstone Regional Hospital, Floyd County Department of Child Services.
School-based services were initiated because:
- Many parents of Green Valley Elementary students do not have reliable transportation to take their children to therapy.
- The families of low socio-economic status have day-to-day priorities that supersede therapy services.
- Having an in-school therapist allows for more comprehensive and inclusive educational and therapy services through collaboration of staff, teachers and the therapist.
- Students have access to the therapist on an as-needed basis — this is especially helpful when students are escalated and/or experiencing a crisis.
Liz Goldy, CSW
Family and Children’s Place