WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny Hoyer and Anthony G. Brown (all D-Md.) announced the recent award of more than $280,000 in federal funding to support a new partnership between Prince George’s County, the University of Maryland College Park, and Bowie State University. Allocated through the U.S. Department of Education’s Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Program, the award supports the first of an expected five years of funding for the Build, Recruit, & Improve Capacity & Knowledge (BRICK) for Mental Health in Schools initiative. Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will recruit and train fifty graduate students from the University of Maryland’s and Bowie State University’s departments of school counseling, school psychology, and social work, including twenty placed at the high needs schools throughout the school district.
“Well-trained mental health professionals can make an enormous difference in the well-being and life of a student. By drawing upon the talent that is being developed right here in Prince George’s County, this collaboration represents a promising path forward to ensure that students in Maryland public schools can get the support that they need,” said the members.
The Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Program provides competitive grants to test and evaluate innovative partnerships between institutions of higher education (IHE) and States or high-need local education agencies (LEA) to train school counselors, social workers, psychologists, or other mental health professionals qualified to provide school-based mental health services, with the goal of expanding the pipeline of these workers into low-income public elementary schools and secondary schools in order to address the shortages of mental health service professionals in such schools.