Pivot to Prevention: Tools for Funding and Implementing Evidence-Based Programs in Schools

Posted March 15, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
High school students

After achiev­ing sig­nif­i­cant gains in its work to improve men­tal and behav­ioral health among high-school stu­dents in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Island, CYC has launched a series of tools sup­port­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion to help like-mind­ed com­mu­ni­ties repli­cate their success.

CYC’s Piv­ot to Pre­ven­tion Pro­gram and Tool­box cov­ers every­thing from how to finance clin­i­cal ser­vices with Med­ic­aid to eval­u­at­ing and build­ing part­ner­ships for those ser­vices to be deliv­ered in the school set­ting. It offers tools for school sys­tems and sup­port teams to assess cur­rent resources, train staff and track indi­vid­ual stu­dents’ evolv­ing sup­port needs. It also includes forms and out­reach mate­ri­als to inform and engage families.

Piv­ot to Pre­ven­tion pro­gram launch

High schools in Prov­i­dence were serv­ing large num­bers of stu­dents from low-income fam­i­lies, most of whom had no access to men­tal health ser­vices. Piv­ot to Pre­ven­tion brought licensed ther­a­pists, social work­ers and oth­er Med­ic­aid-reim­bursed clin­i­cians to the schools dur­ing the school day. With clin­i­cians, part­ner agen­cies and the school dis­trict join­ing forces, the pro­gram served near­ly 1,000 chil­dren. By engag­ing teens at their schools, clin­i­cians iden­ti­fied youth who need­ed sup­port and offered it at lit­tle cost to the district.

Beyond the direct health ben­e­fits, the pro­gram achieved a cul­tur­al shift with­in the par­tic­i­pat­ing high schools. Admin­is­tra­tors report­ed few­er behav­ioral refer­rals. They also observed reduced stig­ma sur­round­ing behav­ioral health which, in turn, elim­i­nates anoth­er bar­ri­er for those seek­ing help.

Piv­ot to Prevention’s place­ment in schools has posi­tioned dis­tricts to proac­tive­ly inter­vene and pre­vent behav­ioral issues. As a school-based pro­gram, Piv­ot to Pre­ven­tion also uses Med­ic­aid fund­ing to secure impor­tant resources, mak­ing it more cost-effec­tive for the community.

The Piv­ot to Pre­ven­tion tools offer school sys­tems new ways of expand­ing their behav­ioral health resources while engag­ing young peo­ple and fam­i­lies,” said Ilene Berman, a senior asso­ciate with the Casey Foundation’s Evi­dence-Based Prac­tice Group. By using what works to iden­ti­fy and pre­vent issues ear­ly, schools can help their stu­dents thrive in their class­es and in life.”

Build­ing on a his­to­ry of partnership

In 2012, CYC, then known as the Prov­i­dence Chil­dren and Youth Cab­i­net, was the first inter­me­di­ary to lead the imple­men­ta­tion of the Foundation’s Evidence2Success frame­work, which helps com­mu­ni­ties gath­er data from young peo­ple about their strengths and needs and apply evi­dence-based pro­grams to match. Based on an analy­sis of local youth data, part­ners in Prov­i­dence select­ed six Evidence2Success pro­grams address­ing spe­cif­ic com­mu­ni­ty needs, such as chron­ic school absen­teeism. The instal­la­tion of the pro­grams and the use of data to choose them have pro­vid­ed valu­able insights over time, inform­ing CYC’s devel­op­ment of Piv­ot to Prevention.

Learn more about Evidence2Success results in Providence

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