Senators Amanda Cappelletti, John Kane, Tim Kearney, and Katie Muth stand with staff from Child Guidance Resource Center and a state grant for $400,000 to fund a pilot program aimed at supporting student mental health. (Photo taken by James Robinson, PA Senate Democratic Photographer)
Havertown, PA- March 2, 2023– Pennsylvania Senators Amanda M. Cappelletti, Carolyn Comitta, John Kane, Tim Kearney, and Katie Muth today presented a check for a state grant totaling $400,000 to the Child Guidance Resource Center (CGRC) which serves the greater Philadelphia area. This funding will be used to launch a pilot program that will provide trauma informed training to school districts throughout Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties. The program will train 130 clinicians in advanced therapeutic programs designed to address the behavioral health impacts of trauma on children, adolescents, and families. Child Guidance Resource Center will provide 60 sessions of the pilot program to educate teachers and school support staff to recognize and address the impact of trauma on students.
“I am excited that my Senate colleagues and I were able to secure funding for the Child Guidance Resource Center,” said Senator Tim Kearney (D-Delaware). “This Center provides invaluable services to our community and helping to ensure it has the support needed to continue its mission is a part of building a stronger, healthier Commonwealth.”
CGRC is a leader in the provision of trauma informed therapy to children, adolescents, and families throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. CGRC’s staff provides treatment in office, however, the majority of families participate in community-based treatment which means their staff works with children and family members in their schools, homes and community settings across the county.
“All of us at Child Guidance Resource Centers are very grateful for this grant which will enable us to train our therapists in trauma informed therapies,” said Colleen McNichol, CEO of Child Guidance Resource Center. “Through this effort and our program to train school district staff across Southeastern Pennsylvania, we have the opportunity to help thousands of children and their families recognize and heal from the impact of trauma. We look forward to working with school districts to help them address the growing need for behavioral health assessment and treatment services resulting from the pandemic.”
“Child Guidance took on the responsibility to serve the wellbeing of our youth and their families. They have done such remarkable work empowering every child, adult, and family who walks through their doors and I’m proud to support their work. Child Guidance saw that the children of our communities needed more resources, detailed programs, and family attention in order to address the behavioral health and wellness facing all of our communities,” said Senator John Kane (D-Delaware). “I applaud Child Guidance for stepping up for our families, and I cannot wait to see how much good they do for our Commonwealth with this funding.”
During the pandemic, students have faced increased mental health challenges as they have had to cope with things like social isolation and a loss of routine. Unfortunately, 40% of Pennsylvania students in grades six, eight, 10 and 12 surveyed in 2021 said they felt sad or depressed most days over the past year. Compounding the problem, many school districts lack staff with mental health training. This challenge did not start with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has exacerbated it. For the third straight year, the Pennsylvania School Board Association’s State of Education report has flagged student mental health challenges as a top priority for public schools. This year, staff shortages are the other top priority for Pennsylvania School Districts.
“Our students are struggling now more than ever, and we must get them the resources they need and deserve to address ongoing mental health challenges,” said Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti (D-Montgomery). “I am proud my colleagues and I were able to work together to fund this program that will expand access to crucial trauma-informed care for students across Southeastern Pennsylvania.”
Senators Cappelletti, Comitta, Kane, Kearney, and Muth worked together to secure these grant dollars, as the group of legislators have all been strong advocates for increased mental health resources for students and families. The collaboration was successful in securing $400,000 to fund this pilot program.
“Child Guidance Resource Center and the mental health service and trauma-informed education they provide is so critical to all of our communities,” said Senator Katie Muth (D-Chester) I am grateful that my colleagues and I were able to collaborate to provide this state grant funding to Child Guidance Resource Center so that they can continue to expand the services and programs they provide across SEPA.”
CGRC’s pilot program will work with each school district to tailor the trainings to the district’s own unique needs, but all trainings will take a trauma informed approach. Trauma often creates depression, anxiety, and hostility toward adults and peers, as well as low self-esteem and increased feelings of worry about safety for themselves and others.
“Investments in trauma-informed education can help ensure a productive environment where every child can feel safe and confident in their ability to learn and grow. I want to thank my colleagues, Senators Cappelletti, Kane, Kearney, and Muth in supporting this important pilot program. And I appreciate the work of Child Guidance Resource Centers in assisting teachers, support staff, and families in Chester County and the surrounding area in addressing the impacts of trauma on our communities,” said Senator Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester).