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Archive for Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WRAP will be funded through end of school year

November 27, 2007

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School mental health program to continue

District officials announced tonight that thanks to funding from Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center nine WRAP workers will be concentrated in secondary schools. Enlarge video

A program that puts clinical social workers in Lawrence schools will continue in some form through the end of the school year.

Deputy Superintendent Bruce Passman said Monday night that Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center leaders have agreed to fund up to nine WRAP program worker positions, primarily at junior high and high schools, to get through this school year.

Passman gave an update to board members on the school district's review of how it offers mental health services in schools. Grant funding has run out for WRAP - Working to Recognize Alternative Possibilities - and last year the school district, city and county split its $1.1 million annual costs.

Bert Nash leaders had enough funding from last year's city and county budgets to get through this semester and were also relying on private donations and other funds.

District administrators are reviewing the fundamentals of what mental health services the district offers, including WRAP, which serves about 3,000 students. A planning team of leaders from the district, Bert Nash and other mental health experts will present recommendations to board members in February, Passman said.

Board member Scott Morgan said cost would be a factor but that the district did need some version of what WRAP does beyond this year.

"The services have to be offered. What we call them and who they're offered by is what I envision this reviewing having done," he said.

Morgan said some parents should be added to the planning team to provide feedback, and board member Marlene Merrill suggested adding professionals who work in other fields, such as the court system or in treating substance abuse.

Some board members also voiced support for taking a systemic approach to providing mental health services and lauded the work of Bert Nash employees and leadership.

"I don't know that there are any others that fill that role in the community," board member John Mitchell said. "It would seem natural to me that Bert Nash be a player in this effort."

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