Family & Children’s Society has started a new partnership with the Binghamton City School District to offer school-based mental health services at East Middle School. Individual, group and family counseling services will be available to students in grades six through eight. The district reached out to Family & Children’s to establish the service based on a growing need for mental health services for their students. Social worker Peter Carvelas is on site two and a half days per week with a case load of about 30 students. As enrollment increases, his services will become full time.
Our school-based counseling program provides behavioral health services for youth at a critical time in their development. “Extending this service into the school allows us to provide access to kids who need mental health care but might not otherwise be able to receive it,” said Mental Health Clinic Director Cara Fraser. Early identification and treatment can help youth more quickly recover and benefit from their education, develop positive relationships, increase school attendance and positively impact long term outcomes for these students.
In-school services are convenient for both children and families. Day time counseling services are often better for students and attendance rates are higher. With a site-based model, there is more opportunity for collaboration with school staff. Counseling services are provided with respect to academic schedules. Parents remain an integral part of their child’s intervention plan and the site-based model allows families to have better access to the counselors and resources available to them. By providing school-based services, we eliminate transportation as an access barrier especially in rural communities.
Since 1997, we have offered school-based behavioral health services through collaborations with Broome County school districts including Whitney Point, Maine-Endwell, and Union-Endicott. Last year, we added the Johnson City and Windsor school districts and most recently East Middle School.