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Beyond the Grant: LAUNCH Grantees Influence Policy Changes to Advance Child Wellness Goals

This brief highlights many notable and emerging successes of grantees in expanding and sustaining LAUNCH services through policy changes that advance child wellness goals at the state, territory, or tribal level. An analysis of recent successes finds that grantees were most likely to make policy changes focused on expanding screening and assessment, one of the five LAUNCH core strategies, likely because it is simpler and less costly to scale than the other LAUNCH programmatic approaches.

Connecticut’s Restorative Practices Approach

To reduce the incidence of suspensions and expulsions, particularly for male students of color who are disproportionately impacted, Connecticut employed a Restorative Practices approach across its SS/HS districts. Baseline data indicated that statewide, male students were twice as likely to be suspended as female students, which was true for all racial and ethnic groups. Further, Black and Hispanic boys were 2-3 times as likely to be suspended or expelled as White boys, and Black and Hispanic girls were 4-6 times more likely to get such a sanction as their White counterparts.

Supporting the Mental Health of LGBTQ Students in Bridgeport, Connecticut

National data suggests that LGBTQ youth are at greater risk than their peers for mental health challenges, including depression and suicide. To better understand and support the mental health of LGBTQ students in Bridgeport, Connecticut, school and community leaders collected quantitative data on the health risks for these students, conducted focus groups, shared findings with stakeholders, and conducted two regional conferences.

Nevada’s State and Community Integration

“The Collaboratory” integrates various state grants and initiatives to ensure a climate of collaboration. State leaders worked together to develop a State Integration Team to include many state initiatives in order to align the work across the state. The initiatives include: Project AWARE, School Climate Transformation, Pre-K Development, Systems of Care, Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment, OJJDP Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, and State Youth Treatment Planning for Substance Abuse.

Nevada’s Use of Technology to Build Violence-Free Schools

The Nevada Department of Education, Office of Safe and Respectful Learning Environment (NDE OSRLE), established the Governor’s Social Workers in Schools Initiative with the focus of creating safe schools through prevention programming as well as a system of multi-tiered interventions for students. Providing a social worker in the schools has enhanced the strategy to create safer schools.

LEAs and Community Collaboration and Partnerships

The three LEAs (Lyon, Nye, and Washoe School Districts) partnered to develop and provide mental and behavioral health consultation, screening, assessment, and treatment for students and their families on site at school. As a result, services have been provided for 2,042 students (2013-2016 school years). The school districts and community agencies have developed the infrastructure and capacity to continue these services.  

Intervention Services to Prevent Behavioral Health Problems

Each of Wisconsin’s LEAs: Racine, Menominee and Beloit, convened a SS/HS Core Management Team (CMT) to collaboratively lead, plan, and implement local SS/HS strategies to address the needs of students, families, and community. Needs assessment data confirmed that substance use was a serious concern leading to the implementation of alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) screenings, prevention, and intervention services to prevent behavioral health problems. 

Wisconsin’s Systemic Change to Engage At-Risk Populations

The Menominee Indian School District (MISD), located on the Menominee Tribal Nation in northeastern Wisconsin, was the only Native American LEA to participate in SAMHSA’s SS/HS State Expansion Program. Ninety-two percent of MISD’s students are Native American and 85% of students are economically disadvantaged suggesting a vulnerable and at-risk population. Historical trauma has affected the way of life for Menominee families and their children. Menominee’s economic, socioeconomic, behavioral health, and physical health issues are deeply rooted in past trauma.

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