MU Family Access Center of Excellence to provide mental health support to Boone County schools

The MOU will provide additional supports to students and families within schools.

This is an image of Aaron Thompson

Aaron Thompson is the project leader for the Family Access Center for Excellence (FACE) of Boone County, which will outline the enhanced mental health support for Boone County schools.

May 14, 2021
Contact: Pate McCuien, 573-882-4870,

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.

This is an image of the Mizzou faculty involved with FACE

The original Mizzou faculty members involved with FACE include, left to right: Aaron Thompson, School of Social Work; Keith Herman, ESCP at the College of Education; Kristin Hawley, Psychological Sciences; Kelly Schieltz, no longer involved; Wendy Reinke, ESCP at the College of Education; Clark Peters, School of Social Work.

A public MOU signing was held in the Commission Chambers of the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 14, 2021.


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