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Proposed $15M grant program for Oakland Co. schools to address mental health needs

The Detroit News - 6/22/2022

Jun. 23—The Oakland County officials on Wednesday announced a $15 million school mental health grant program for social and emotional programs for students.

The Oakland County Schools Mental Health Grant Program would be supported through the county's American Rescue Plan Act funds up to $10,150,000 and be matched with up to $5 million from local school districts.

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners will vote on the program at its meeting Thursday.

"We have been working on this program for several months to make sure it is the best way for the county to support school districts," said Commissioner Penny Luebs, who led the initiative. "When mental health issues are addressed, students have a better chance to learn and handle life challenges, and I am confident that this program will enable schools to help many Oakland County children."

Eligible school districts can receive up to $175,000. The funds can go toward mental health professional staff, training to help identify when students need mental health services, programs to address the needs of students or increased mental health screenings and assessments of students.

Each district also is eligible for additional funding of up to $175,000 if the school district matches the funds.

"We are excited to expand the opportunities to help meet our students' social and emotional needs by providing training and resources as part of a multi-year plan," said Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick.

According to Oakland Schools, one in 10 students has serious mental health problems severe enough to impair how they function in school, home or the community.

Implementing social and emotional programs in schools will help students develop social, emotional and academic skills, according to an Oakland County Board of Commissioners release.

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