LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg City Schools has been awarded an $8.4 million federal grant to better support students with their mental health needs.
The school system received the funding as part of the Department of Education’s School-Based Mental Health grant program, which has a goal of bringing more credentialed mental health service providers to local schools in need.
The funding will be dispersed over the next five years and used for the following:
- Hire and retain highly skilled mental health professionals
- Offer retention bonuses for current school social workers
- Support positions such as a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, four registered behavior technicians, two school social workers and eight restorative counselors
- Bolster services including Therapeutic Day Treatment and social-emotional behavioral support programs
- Further professional development for LCS mental health professionals
LCS was one out of 102 applicants throughout the U.S. chosen for the grant.
Dr. Derrick Brown, Director of Student Services at LCS, looks forward to seeing how the grant will benefit students.
“Similar to national and state-wide trends, we are experiencing a significant increase in behavioral and mental health needs for our students,” said Brown. “Our priority is always to provide the highest level of support for all our students. I am excited about what this grant means for our students.”
He went on to add, “Securing funding at this level will immediately impact our mental health and behavioral supports. Improved student mental health and behavior will positively impact all our students, teachers, staff, and our community.”
The goal is to get the positions filled as soon as possible.
“We have a very aggressive timeline and so we’re starting to post positions as early as next week and we’re looking to implement these services immediately. Our students need them and we don’t want to delay that,” Brown said.