Dr. Phillips Charities provides $75k for Orange County students’ mental health care

 Orlando, FL (January 22, 2020) — Children’s Home Society of Florida was awarded a $75,000 grant on behalf of Dr. Phillips Charities to support the surge of mental health needs of underinsured and uninsured Orange County students due to the effects caused by the pandemic.

Funds from the grant will directly support the Community Partnership Schools™ model at Evans High School, Jones High School and OCPS Academic Center for Excellence, helping to provide three master-level mental health clinicians who will offer mental health care and one-on-one counseling to students. Individual and group counseling will support the surge of mental health needs due to the effects the pandemic, economic loss and distance learning on local families.

In the year before COVID-19 swept the country, the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) documented the need for mental health services for the uninsured, revealing that only one in 10 Orange County respondents indicated sufficient mental health services or knowledge of how to access existing mental health services. The US Census reports 14.8 percent of residents in Orange County are uninsured.  From the Census Bureau to Harvard Health to The Washington Post, vast amounts of current research stress the spike in COVID-19 related depression and anxiety, especially among the economically disadvantaged, urging communities to invest in mental health.

The community partnerships schools at Jones and Evans High Schools are core partnerships among Children’s Home Society of Florida, Orange Blossom Family Health, Orange County Public Schools and the University of Central Florida.

OCPS ACE is a core partnership among Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Children’s Home Society of Florida, Orange Blossom Family Health, Orange County Public Schools, Rosen Preschool, University of Central Florida and Valencia College.

Together, core partners work within the schools to address key barriers to learning including poverty, food insecurity, lack of affordable healthcare and mental health care, and more.

Effects of mental health on academic performance

According to childmind.org, children with mental health and learning disorders face frequent discipline and school failure, which can lead to problems later in life. Being at risk for mental health problems in first grade leads to a 5 percent drop in academic performance in just two years.

Mental health and learning disorders are also tied to higher dropout rates – high school dropouts are 63 times more likely to be jailed than four-year college graduates.

“Orange County students and their families faced extraordinary challenges in 2020 including increased instability, trauma and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sherri Gonzales, CHS regional executive director. “Thanks to Dr. Phillips Charities, our community’s kids and teens will have the mental health care and treatment they need without worrying about insurance and access barriers.”

Children’s Home Society of Florida brought the Community Partnership Schools™ model to Florida in 2011 in partnership with Orange County Public Schools and The University of Central Florida. Children’s Home Society of Florida is a core partner in 20 Community Partnership Schools – more than any other entity in the state.

To learn more about Children’s Home Society of Florida’s local initiatives, please visit chsfl.org

About Children’s Home Society of Florida

On the front lines since 1902, Children’s Home Society of Florida is the oldest and largest statewide organization devoted to helping children and families. Children’s Home Society of Florida serves more than 50,000 children and family members throughout the state each year. More: www.chsfl.org.


Note: The University of Central Florida Center for Community Schools serves as the statewide grant administrator of the Community School Grant Program; provides technical assistance to community schools; and oversees a rigorous, strengths-based certification process for schools to become UCF-Certified Community Partnership Schools.