RIDE Receives More Than $3.8 Million in SAMHSA Funds to Support Trauma Informed Services in Schools

Published on Friday, December 09, 2022

Applications for the RI Trauma Informed Schools Commission Due by December 14, 2022


PROVIDENCE, RI – Today Governor Dan McKee and Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green announced that the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has been awarded a four-year, $3,880,000 cooperative agreement from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase access to evidence-based, culturally responsive, and sustaining trauma support services and mental health care in schools. 

“My administration is committed to ensuring that every student across Rhode Island has the proper support and resources to get ahead,” said Governor Dan McKee. “As students around the nation, we know Rhode Island youth are struggling with mental health and we’re working diligently to meet their needs. This new funding will allow us to strengthen partnerships and enhance support systems so our students can thrive.” 

The funding will support RIDE to develop innovative statewide initiatives to raise awareness among school personnel and the broader school community on the prevalence and effects of trauma on youth mental health and school performance, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. RIDE in collaboration with key partners will provide more intensive support to five Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to strengthen schools’ capacity to provide culturally relevant, evidenced-based trauma support services and mental health care using a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework. LEAs will be selected based on need and readiness to change. 

“To help our school communities recover, we must all play a role in supporting our students’ academic and social emotional needs,” said Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Chair Patti DiCenso. “The Council is deeply appreciative of RIDE’s work to secure this critical funding that will help our children cope and overcome mental health challenges. We look forward to continuing to partner with school leaders to address the mental health crisis we are experiencing.” 

“Recognizing that it has been a trying time for many of our students, families, and staff members, RIDE has stepped up to secure additional resources to alleviate and prevent the impacts of trauma,” said Commissioner Infante-Green. “A welcoming, supportive learning environment is crucial for a child’s academic success and healthy development. We will continue to explore and implement innovative strategies that prioritize the wellbeing of our school communities.” 

The following goals will guide the work collaboration agreement: 

  • Build capacity of the State Education Agency and partners to support and increase student access to evidence-based, culturally responsive, and sustaining trauma support services and mental health care by developing innovative initiatives, activities, and programs to link local school systems with local trauma-informed support and mental health systems. 
  • Build LEA capacity to develop and operationalize a school-based trauma informed support and mental health services implementation plan. 
  • Build LEA capacity to support and provide trauma informed, culturally responsive mental health care through professional development and training of all school-based staff. 
  • Increase capacity at LEAs to connect families, schools, and communities to increase engagement and involvement in planning and implementing to increase awareness of the impact of trauma on children and youth. 
  • Foster partnerships at the state level among State department partners with a role in behavioral health for children and youth. 

These investments will also underpin a network of programs offered supporting the mental health of students and educators, including the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence course to support the education community as they navigate additional stressors and emotional support needs in the wake of the pandemic. The course, which is available now, is offered at no cost to educators. Further, in partnership with RIDE, Pure Edge has offered more than 70 professional development sessions in support of educator well-being for over 5,000 Rhode Island participants since 2019. Pure Edge will continue to provide open-source resources and sessions for local education agencies. 

Additionally, state leaders issued a reminder that the deadline to submit an application expressing interest in serving in the Rhode Island Trauma Informed Schools Commission are due by December 14, 2022. The new funding will inform the work of the recently legislated Rhode Island Trauma Informed Schools Commission.

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