May 14, 2021
Contact: Pate McCuien, 573-882-4870, McCuienP@missouri.edu
MU Family Access Center of Excellence (FACE) of Boone County and Boone County school leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will outline enhanced mental health support for approximately 24,000 school-aged children and their families. These services are made possible by a ¼-cent tax passed by citizens of Boone County in 2012, which created the Boone County Community Services Department’s Services Fund.
The MOU between FACE and Boone County schools will allow FACE to create tailored support for children, classrooms, school buildings, and school districts across Boone County. In 2021, FACE merged with the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition which administers annual screenings of K-12 students for social, emotional and behavioral health concerns; provides consultation and training for teachers and administrators; and provides counseling and case management services for higher risk students.
“FACE represented the beginning of a close partnership among the Boone County Schools,” Peter Stiepleman, the Superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, said. “Now, we collaborate on nearly everything. FACE serves as a convener for families, and it has served as a nexus for the Boone County’s school districts.”
In addition to the merger, FACE will hire 10 Family Intervention Specialists to provide on-site support in school buildings across Boone County, starting with rural school districts. The Family Intervention Specialists will address immediate behavioral crises and work with families to obtain support services. Stationed in Boone County schools, these specialists will be available to deescalate immediate crises, support school staff, and link children and families to services to meet short-term and long-term needs and prevent future crises. Sandy Miller, the Family Intervention Specialist supervisor, said she is excited to provide additional help for students in need.
“I’m looking forward to working with schools to provide an additional layer of support for our students most in need,” Miller said. “By devoting our time to both community resources and to schools, we hope to develop connections with families that result in increased student engagement and success.”
In addition to enhanced school-based services described in the MOU, FACE will continue to provide child-focused and family-based assessments, referral to effective services, and case management support through community-based services. These services have been shown to reduce severity of symptoms and get needed supports to those in need.