Douglas County Commission approves expansion of school-based mental health program

photo by: Mackenzie Clark

Douglas County Commissioners Nancy Thellman, Michelle Derusseau and Patrick Kelly are pictured during their meeting on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the Douglas County Courthouse.

Kids in Eudora, Baldwin City and Perry-Lecompton schools will have some extra mental health support next year.

Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday approved an expansion of the WRAP, or Working to Recognize Alternative Possibilities, program, which places master’s-level mental health professionals in Douglas County schools. The program was developed by Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Lawrence Public Schools.

Currently, Bert Nash employs 15 WRAP specialists. The county provides funding for six of them, as well as partial funding for two managers. Fourteen of the specialists work in Lawrence schools, and the other is employed at Eudora Elementary School.

On Wednesday, commissioners voted to add five additional WRAP specialists. The expansion will place two specialists in Baldwin schools, one in the Perry-Lecompton district and an additional specialist in Eudora.

A cost not to exceed $253,277 for the five positions will come from behavioral health sales tax funds. County voters overwhelmingly approved the quarter-cent sales tax in November, and it went into effect April 1.

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