New Castle, DE- The Colonial School District has been selected to receive a federal grant of $3.6 million dollars over the next five years to increase social and emotional support for students if they are out of school for mental health and/or disciplinary reasons. The “Return to Learn” grant was awarded to Colonial after a highly competitive and rigorous application process. Thanks to these funds, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the district will be able to coordinate additional behavioral health services for their students who are considered to be at the highest risk for issues that include suicide, mental health illnesses, criminal and legal problems, substance use, high conflict and violent relationships.

Through the coordination of these services, it is Colonial’s goal to help identified students return to school with support. Mental health services will include bringing additional behavioral health providers, such as social workers, into the secondary schools as well as providing greater coordination between students, families, school, and community behavioral health providers. Dr. Jon Cooper, Health and Wellness Director in Colonial says, “Our goal is to keep students connected to school while they are receiving intensive mental and / or behavioral health support in an outside agency. Once the student is ready to return to school, we aim to provide the student with access to the support needed to be included and successful in the school setting.”

The “Return to Learn” grant involves a partnership with the Delaware Department of Education, Delaware’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, the Division of Prevention of Behavioral Health Services and other local community partners such as Children and Families First.