Delaware County Launches Innovative School Based Assessment Program

 Home / Departments / Public Relations Releases / Delaware County Launches Innovative School Based Assessment Program

Released: March 22, 2024

Delaware County Launches Innovative School Based Assessment Program to Strengthen Behavioral Health Support for Students

Delaware County has launched its groundbreaking School Based Assessment Program (SBAP), the first program from the County’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools initiative designed to provide early identification and intervention for behavioral health* issues among Delaware County students. SBAP accomplishes this by providing crucial support and access to mental health and substance use resources, promoting strong collaboration among schools, families, and students.

Soft-launched in September of 2023, SBAP is a joint initiative by District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, Delaware County Council, and the Delaware County Department of Human Services as part of an effort to radically improve the delivery of proactive, preventative mental health and substance use services for school-aged children.

Delaware County understands the value of connecting with students and families in environments where they feel at ease. By deploying an SBAP Program Coordinator for in-person assessments and support directly within schools, throughout the community, or at the students' homes, the initiative fosters a highly personalized and approachable model of care. This ‘Warm Hand Off’ strategy moves beyond conventional boundaries, ensuring that the diverse needs of students are addressed with sensitivity and flexibility.

“Our focus is on proactive and preventative intervention and support,” said Shannon Fitzpatrick Thomas, Court and Community Connections Administrator for the Department of Human Services who also oversees the Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools initiative. “Having a behavioral health professional during school hours that can meet with concerned families and school staff helps remove the stigma associated with seeking help and creates a culture of well-being within our educational institutions and our communities.”

SBAP’s dedicated Program Coordinator, a behavioral health professional, is available Mon. through Fri., 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In addition, the program also provides treatment linkage, education, support, and resources after hours. Calls are coordinated by the MVP Recovery 24/7 Peer Support Team, ensuring continuous assistance for students and families outside the regular schedule. MVP Recovery’s School Based Assessment Program and their 24/7 Peer Support Team number is 1-855-MVP-2410.

“In the depths of the pandemic we reached out to school superintendents to ask about their most pressing concerns. They were unanimous in pointing to the deteriorating mental health of their students, and the attendant behavioral challenges. Poor attendance, violence, substance abuse – no school was immune from these concerns,” said District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer. “With that in mind, we launched the Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools initiative, which is now bearing fruit and providing critical support for our youth. I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone whose contributions have led to this amazing program.”

"We’re excited to see this program take shape,” said Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “As the pioneering effort to emerge from the discussions between Council, District Attorney Stollsteimer, and the many contributing stakeholders under the umbrella term 'Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools,' we are hopeful that it will enable countless young people to access the support and services that can empower them to thrive."

MVP Recovery, a Delaware County-based behavioral health provider recognized as one of the most comprehensive state licensed recovery programs in the region, is responsible for the program’s implementation. Over the past several months, MVP Recovery has already begun connecting numerous school-aged youth to immediate inpatient drug and alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, and community supports such as Big Brothers / Big Sisters.

"The SBAP initiative aims to cultivate a community where behavioral health is at the forefront, ensuring assistance is readily available," Brian Corson, Founder & CEO of MVP Recovery, elaborated. "Providing 24/7 access to a Peer Support Team, including certified peer specialists, will offer substantial recovery and mental health support for both students and families throughout the County. Crucially, the MVP Recovery 24/7 Peer Support Team will continue its operations during the summer, guaranteeing that students requiring behavioral health services can find help even when schools are not in session, thereby maintaining an uninterrupted support system all year round."

No Wrong Door

Navigating what can feel like a maze of support services can often leave individuals, families, and even professional staff feeling unsure of where to turn for help when seeking services. To mitigate these challenges and ensure seamless access to assistance, Delaware County’s Department of Human Services is leading an initiative to ensure all County departments, community providers, and residents are well-informed about the program and adept at guiding residents to the appropriate resources. This effort exemplifies the ‘No Wrong Door’ approach, where various agencies and personnel collaborate closely to ensure residents are directly connected with the School Based Assessment Program (SBAP) team, ensuring that every entry point into the program leads to the support and services needed.

*Behavioral Health refers to mental health and substance use disorders, life stressors and crises, and stress-related physical symptoms. Behavioral health care refers to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of those conditions.

Contact Us

  •   201 West Front Street,
         Media, PA 19063
  •   8:30AM - 4:30PM
           Monday - Friday
  •   610-891-4000

About Delaware County

Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

Read more