The Dublin City School District will call on the expertise of the Dublin Counseling Center to help students with mental health or substance abuse problems.
Dublin Board of Education members this week approved an agreement with Syntero at the Dublin Counseling Center to provide behavioral health services to students identified by student support specialists in the schools.
According to Executive Director of Pupil Services Janet Gillig, the district has worked with the Dublin Counseling Center in the past, but the new agreement will put into place a plan to identify students that might need services from the counseling center and get them an assessment.
Syntero "shall provide community-based behavioral health care assessment and treatment utilizing individual, group or family counseling services in the school setting, home or at the providers outpatient clinic," the agreement stated.
The district has five student support specialists who are certified social workers.
They will identify a small group of students that may benefit from Dublin Counseling Center services during this pilot program, Gillig said.
"There will be on-site school-based intake appointments," she said.
"The initial intake process will be to determine if a mental health diagnosis and/or alcohol and other drug diagnosis exists. Recommendations for ongoing care will be provided after the intake process is concluded," the contract approved by the Dublin Board of Education said.
The intake meeting will be paid for by the school district and the cost for any other services will be negotiated by the parent and Dublin Counseling Center, Gillig said.
Dublin Counseling Center Executive Director Julie Rinaldi said the group often bills insurance companies for services.
If needed, services from the Dublin Counseling Center will be provided to the student at their school, home or Dublin Counseling Center at 299 Cramer Creek Court.
The Dublin Counseling Center may also refer a student to another provider, depending upon the student's needs.
"The outcome we hope to have is more timely intervention for students experiencing behavior or emotional difficulty in school," Gillig said.
The partnership between Dublin City Schools and the Dublin Counseling Center has prompted interest from the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, Gillig said, and Dublin Counseling Center has been asked to apply for a $300,000 grant.
If the counseling center gets the grant, Rinaldi said funds would be used for individual and group counseling, child psychiatry and other services at the schools.
The program is set to begin this month, with all the processes set by the fall when the new school year begins, Gillig said.