At The Village Network, our School-Based Treatment programs operate under the philosophy that young people can do well if they can live in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment. We also understand the role of trauma and the need to view youth and family situations from a holistic vantage point and work hard to help support opportunities that create exposure to a wide variety of cultural and vocational experiences to cultivate hope for a brighter future.
Partnering With Schools
School based mental health services aim to improve a student’s functioning not only in school, but also in the community and at home. Our goal is to work in partnership with each school and student to improve the child’s overall mental health and behavioral functioning as evidenced by an increase in the academic achievement of the student, a decrease in truancy and tardiness, and a reduction in school suspension, risky behaviors and class disruptions. School based programs vary according to the needs of the school, the youth, the families, and the community. Depending on the needs of the community and school, our school programs are structured in two ways:
- OPEN – Open services are open to the full school population and youth are served based on referrals made by the parents, the youth, and/or the school. In an open setting, schools may not be permitted to directly refer youth for school-based counseling services.
- CLOSED – Closed services are available to a specific population as identified by the school, such as a self-contained classroom.
Our therapists are actively engaged with the school guidance department, teachers, and administrative staff. It is through these communications that we have the ability to leverage our on-site program to parents as the most effective and efficient treatment option for their child and family. Our services can be provided within the school as an option for treatment, along with the treatment of other providers who may be working with a particular student (i.e., occupational therapy, speech and hearing, etc.). The type of services will often depend on the partnership with the school and the value they place on the service at their location. Below are all the services The Village Network can provide at a school setting. The mix of services provided are contingent upon various factors including the needs of a child and/or the expressed needs of the school.
Day treatment services occur for a minimum of 2 hours per day between a youth and a licensed mental health professional or a qualified mental health specialist. The hours do not have to be consecutive but a youth must be present for the entire service. Our clinicians our flexible and open to facilitating what meets the needs of the youth and the school.
- DAY TREATMENT OPEN SERVICES: Day treatment is offered daily however not all youth may receive this service each day. The number of days a youth should attend is based on the individualized treatment plan and the youth’s assessed needs.
- DAY TREATMENT CLOSED SERVICES: Closed day treatment services are offered daily in a self-contained classroom to many participants in a group setting. The size of the group should be limited based on the needs of the youth in the group. Normally, the group size is limited to a ratio of one staff for every 4-6 youth.
Therapy groups vary in length of time based on the needs and developmental abilities of the children served. Groups are facilitated by licensed mental health professionals. Group Therapy may be provided in conjunction with Day Treatment services particularly for specific short term interventions, such as a grief group, or utilized with youth stepping down from day treatment who need a lower level of service as they transition towards completion of the support program.
Individual Therapy is a critical service offered at most school programs, and in some cases may be the only service offered.
Family Therapy is offered to youth, either as a service to siblings that are located at the school or a service to the whole family. Our staff are flexible with the location of the services. Family Therapy can occur at the school, at the family’s home, our closest office, or at a selected community location with the necessary privacy.
Case Management Services is utilized in efforts to engage families in treatment and assist youth in developing skills to be successful within a classroom setting.
Psychiatric services are provided to the school youth via telepsychiatry. This service can be provided at the school or at a home office, as long as all technical and security standards are met. Office-based psychiatry with a “live” doctor may be available based on location of service.
In some settings, after-school services are a viable service option. Some schools/districts budget transportation costs and food costs when children are seen outside of standard school hours.
In an open program schools designate a self-contained classroom for our clients. Although the program is typically open to the entire school, a school may deem it necessary to establish a self-contained classroom for the youth being served that have more intense needs. Schools provide the teachers and aids, and we assist with the behavioral needs of the youth in the classroom. This class can also be used to establish an in-school suspension program.
Family support is important and we invite every family with a youth in treatment to engage with us as part of treatment. At your school we can invite families through information booths at the school open house, direct calls to the families when a youth is identified as needing service, and regular family nights and activities. Families are not required to attend, but engaged families provide better outcomes.
Our family nights include family style dining once each month. In some cases, this is the only time the families we serve eat as a family without television and other distractions. Following dinner, staff of The Village Network provide services for both the youth and for the families based on needs that have been identified. These events role model healthy parenting skills, provide supports to the families, and help to solidify the connection between school, family and mental health services.
Most schools served by The Village Network have a standard school year, however, students can participate in services for the entire calendar year. This can be provided at the school, if permitted, or at another location. Summer programs are also available and factor in the cost of food and transportation.
Staff of The Village Network are able to attend school staff meetings and events in order to give updates to the school on the status of cases served.