Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare, in partnership with the Seaside School District, is giving children the opportunity to have their behavioral health needs met directly at school.

At last month’s meeting, the Seaside School Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve a memorandum of understanding with Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare that will allow the organization to provide its services in the Seaside schools. Doing so will mitigate the need for parents and students to travel to Astoria to receive those services, Superintendent Doug Dougherty said.

With the agreement, the district and agency have partnered “to provide mental health prevention, assessment and treatment to children and adolescents enrolled at the agency and who attend” a Seaside school, the memorandum states.

The county agency has offered this opportunity to all the school districts, some of which also have established an agreement, such as the Astoria School District and the Knappa School District, Dougherty said, who also noted that the reason for the effort is so “parents and students will be able to access those services directly within our school district.”

The partners are seeking to “support a school environment in which all children are emotionally prepared, ready to learn and able to progress toward productive adulthood,” the memorandum states.

The services were scheduled to begin some time this week. A clinician from Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare will have a presence at each of the Seaside schools on various weekdays to conduct therapeutic meetings with students. No drop-in students will be allowed and new students seeking treatment and consultation of therapy must be referred to Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare for future services. The clinician, as noted in the memorandum, also will provide support, consultation and training to teachers, administrators and school staff.

The schedule is to be determined, Dougherty said. The collaboration will not cost the school district anything; the schools only need to provide a private room and wireless Internet services for the clinician to conduct meetings with students. The district must provide a space for the clinician to use during summer session, as well.

At the meeting, Director of Special Services Elizabeth Friedman said she was anxious for the program to begin. About 40 students in the school district were existing clients of Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare, according to the most recent data collected in December. Those students will benefit greatly from being able to access their care right at their schools, which will provide a familiar setting for consultation and treatment, Friedman said. Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare also is willing to send someone to Seaside to meet with families on referrals, she added.

In other news:

- The board voted unanimously to approve a recommendation from the Building and Grounds Committee to declare an emergency and allow the district to pursue having a roof replaced on the Gearhart Elementary School’s portable classroom. The roof was blown off during a recent storm.

- The board unanimously approved a motion to accept cultural exchange students through a new organization, CCI Greenheart. Board member Hugh Stelson said CCI Greenheart seems to be “the kind of organization the board should endorse.”

- Seaside High School juniors and seniors will be attending a special student-centered job fair being put on by Clatsop Economic Development Resources. The job fair is scheduled for April 15 at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds.

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