Delaware County’s School Based Assessment Program (SBAP) Remains Accessible Through Summer Months

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Released: May 30, 2024

School’s Not Out for Summer! Delaware County’s School Based Assessment Program (SBAP) Remains Accessible Through Summer Months

Delaware County reminds parents, caregivers, and students that the recently launched School Based Assessment Program (SBAP) that a provides vital behavioral health* support to Delaware County students will remain fully operational throughout the upcoming summer months when schools are not in session.

SBAP, part of the County’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools initiative, is dedicated to the early identification and intervention for behavioral health issues among Delaware County students. By providing essential mental health and substance use resources, the program fosters strong collaboration among schools, families, and students.

So, while the arrival of summer means ‘no more pencils, no more books’ for the majority of school-aged children, this critical school-based program will still provide essential support to young people in need of behavioral health resources.

Continuous Support Through Summer

Despite summer school closures, SBAP’s resources and support systems remain accessible. The dedicated Program Coordinator, a behavioral health professional, will continue to be available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Additionally, treatment linkage, education, support, and resources will still be provided after hours, coordinated by the MVP Recovery 24/7 Peer Support Team. This ensures uninterrupted assistance for students and families, maintaining a stable support system year-round. MVP Recovery’s School Based Assessment Program and their 24/7 Peer Support Team can be reached at 1-855-MVP-2410.

How SBAP Works

Launched in September 2023, SBAP is a collaborative effort involving District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, Delaware County Council, and the Delaware County Department of Human Services. The program aims to radically improve the delivery of proactive, preventative mental health and substance use services for school-aged children.

SBAP operates by deploying a Program Coordinator who conducts in-person assessments and provides support within schools, throughout the community, or at one of the 3 MVP Recovery Centers in Delaware County. This approach, known as the ‘Warm Hand Off’ strategy, ensures that the diverse needs of students are met with sensitivity and flexibility. By addressing issues proactively, SBAP helps to create a culture of well-being within educational institutions and the wider community.

“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. “And that support does not end with the last school bell in June. We understand that having continuous behavioral health resources available for concerned families throughout the summer helps ensure that students receive uninterrupted care and are better prepared for the upcoming school year.”

Purpose and Impact

SBAP was created in response to the mental health challenges highlighted by school superintendents during the pandemic. Poor attendance, violence, and substance abuse were common concerns, prompting the launch of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools initiative. SBAP has since provided critical support for youth, connecting numerous school-aged children to immediate inpatient treatment, mental health services, and community supports such as Big Brothers / Big Sisters.

Brian Corson, Founder & CEO of MVP Recovery, emphasized the importance of continuous support: "Providing 24/7 access to a Peer Support Team, including certified peer specialists, offers substantial recovery and mental health support for both students and families throughout the County. Maintaining operations during the summer ensures that students can find help even when schools are not in session."

No Wrong Door Approach

Delaware County’s Department of Human Services is committed to a ‘No Wrong Door’ approach, ensuring seamless access to assistance. By ensuring all County departments, community providers, and residents are well-informed about the program, SBAP guarantees that every entry point leads to the necessary support and services.

Your engagement and support of SBAP are crucial in helping Delaware County's youth thrive, regardless of the season. Together, we can ensure continuous, comprehensive care for our community’s children.

*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.

Some Simple Steps to Support Your Child’s Mental Health

As we enter the summer months, the absence of school routines and structured activities can impact your child’s mental health. Here are a few ways to recognize and support their emotional well-being during this unstructured time, helping them navigate challenges and maintain balance throughout the summer.

  • Set a summer schedule and routine. While the school year’s schedules of drop offs, pick ups, and projects can feel exhausting and time consuming, the daily structure and predictability is extremely beneficial to a child’s mental and physical health.
  • Maintain a sleep and wake schedule. One sign that an individual is struggling with mental health can be sleep issues or patterns. Without a regular schedule, it is difficult for parents, caregivers, and loved ones to see this as a possible warning some of bigger issues happening in a child’s life. A teenage individual is recommended to sleep around 9 hours a night, however, studies show the average teen is only sleep 6-7 hours a night. Lack of sleep can lead to increased anxiety and decreases one’s inability to cope.
  • Encourage physical movement. Due to the increased use of technology as a means of socializing and entertainment, children can go days without leaving their home. It is beneficial to do physical activities together as a family or unit of support. Not only does this increase physical movement, but also creates time for conversations, check-ins, and connection.

Irritability, seeking more alone time, and wanting to spend time with peers are normal parts of adolescent development. However, increased isolation, extreme mood swings, changes in appetite, and changes in dressing patterns can be some signs that your child might need to talk to someone, and MVP Recovery’s SBAP is one way to help children in need of support.

Parents, caregivers, and children can contact SBAP, with its 24/7 Peer Support Team, at 1-855-MVP-2410

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

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