As mental health problems in schools soar, provider pulls out of southwestern districts

Schools are facing more challenges with increased reports of behavioral and mental health...
Schools are facing more challenges with increased reports of behavioral and mental health issues after the COVID-19 pandemic.(Chesterfield County Public Schools, Virginia Mercury)
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:51 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:52 AM EST
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Several southwestern school districts in Virginia have less than a month before losing a key mental health services provider, which is citing changes in how the state handles the provision of such services as a reason for pulling out.

Family Preservation Services announced in an Oct. 27 letter that it would cease providing therapeutic day treatment services — school-based services for children enrolled in Medicaid to address behavioral, emotional, and mental health issues  — for children and adolescents on Dec. 12 due to “procedural and fiscal challenges.”

“For years, FPS and other providers of (therapeutic day treatment), including our local Community Service Boards / Behavioral Health Authorities, have been advocating for TDT to be reviewed and updated by (the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services) to reflect a service that is more in line with our inclusive education system of today,” wrote Andy Kitzmiller, state director for Family Preservation Services in the October letter. “However, these changes have not been made, nor does it appear that they will be in the near future.”

The Roanoke-based provider has been in operation for more than 20 years and serves 11 localities including Wise, Dickenson, and Buchanan counties and the city of Norton.

State researchers reported less than a month ago that student behavior and mental health problems in schools have skyrocketed since the pandemic.

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NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)