Section 8: Funding & Sustainability

One of the chief barriers to creating comprehensive systems of school-based mental health services is identifying funding streams that support interventions throughout the three tiers of intervention – from school-wide support to intensive treatment services. After time-limited grants help build out a system, what resources are available to sustain the services and initiative?

Schools and community providers do not have the resources to sustain school mental health services on their own. No single entity (school, or community, or county) can provide the whole range of comprehensive services, for all students. Trust, partnerships, coordination, and community buy-in will help entities bring together resources to build out a comprehensive system of services.

Also, there is not a national or state model for how to fund these services. While available funding is largely federal and state, many decisions about how to use funding and what services to prioritize happen at the local level. So, there may be examples of how different counties and school districts across California sustain mental health services, however there is not one “best” way to sustain these services.

The resources in this section will help you (1) learn about the funding streams that are available to sustain school mental health services. While they will not tell you exactly how you should use these them, the resources will help you develop a general understanding of what funding streams are available and what partnerships are necessary to leverage that funding for school-based services. And (2) learn about what others have done to sustain school mental health programs. County demographics, strengths, and challenges vary considerably. What works in one place may not work in another (i.e. heavily leveraging Medi-Cal reimbursement). However, there are innovative and varying sustainability strategies to garner inspiration from.

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