"Put your money on the table": Interagency Coordination to Address the Crisis in Student Mental and Behavioral Health
Student mental health issues rank among the most pressing concerns in California schools, but mental and behavioral health services and support have traditionally been delivered through a siloed approach. While integrated systems of care that support the whole student are at the forefront of current national policy discussions, implementing them is challenging because of funding restrictions and the need to build new relationships between historically independent agencies.
This report shows how county offices of education (COEs) play a critical role in coordinating and integrating services with other child-serving agencies to serve students and families more effectively. By profiling four California COEs, the report illustrates how they can lead or be part of a multi-agency system of integrated care that provides a comprehensive, aligned, and accessible set of mental and behavioral health services to students and families. It illustrates how COEs collaborate with other agencies and other local education leaders to identify and address mental and behavioral health needs, support the coordination of resources and available funding, and help form sustainable long-term partnerships and practices.
- COE approaches vary depending on size, location, context, and available partners.
- The benefits of addressing complex student and family needs outweighed collaboration barriers such as siloed funding, the ability to share protected data and information, and the traditional responsibilities of partner agencies.
- Take a needs-based approach to resource coordination, starting with an assessment of student and family needs and identification of a needs-based funding strategy.
- Leverage short-term funding to build new partnership infrastructure and to plan and support long-term strategies for providing mental and behavioral health services.
For system advocates and policymakers
- Work to expand technical assistance and professional learning for COEs.
- Coordinate state funds across agencies, ensuring that legislation and state funding decisions help allocate resources equitably and do not silo services or prevent agencies from sharing funds.
- Invest in deeper research on needs, capacity, and services gaps.
Product InformationCopyright: 2023
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