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Launch of the New Student Wellness Program

Ohio’s recently passed state budget invests $675 million to help districts and schools support their students’ academic achievement through mental health counseling, wraparound services, mentoring and after-school programs. Last week, Governor Mike DeWine and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria launched the Student Wellness and Success website which helps schools plan their utilization these resources and provide for students’ wellness needs.

As schools gain access to this new resource, a plan for spending the funds must be developed in coordination with one of the following community partners:

  • Board of alcohol, drug and mental health services
  • Educational service center
  • County board of developmental disabilities
  • Community-based mental health treatment provider
  • Board of health of a city or general health district
  • County department of job and family services
  • Nonprofit organization with experience serving children
  • Public hospital agency

Local JFS agencies may find that this is a great opportunity to connect and collaborate with schools as they develop their plans. More discussion about this new program will take place at OJFSDA’s next general session and throughout the months to come.

The creation of new programs as well as expansion of existing behavioral and physical health care services in schools, such as mentoring and afterschool programs, are encouraged.

A few examples from the governor’s press release include:

  • Communities that lack access to healthcare services may choose to retrofit existing building space into a community health clinic and contract with a local health system to provide clinical care for students and their families.
  • Communities experiencing high rates of mental illness may opt to partner with their local alcohol drug and mental health board or a community-based treatment provider to ensure students have access to behavioral health services right in their school.
  • Other communities that lack safe afterschool options for students may choose to partner with afterschool providers to create programs for their students.

The website includes information about how the funds can be used and when the funding is available. It also provides examples of proven programs and resources to help schools as they develop their student wellness plan. 

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