School board increases providers

Published 12:26 am Friday, September 14, 2007

By Staff
Three more agencies given access to schools
Staff Writer
The Beaufort County Board of Education doubled Thursday the number of mental-health service providers allowed access to its schools.
The board voted in July to allow representatives of only three mental-health providers into its schools. They were Life Inc., Potter’s House and the Beaufort County Developmental Center. But during a special meeting Thursday, the board voted to also grant mentors from U-Turn, Healthplus and Personalized Therapy access to students during school hours.
Superintendent Jeff Moss said the thrust behind his recommendation to amend the list of approved providers was a conversation he had with Catherine Keech, adoption services supervisor with the Beaufort County Department of Social Services. Moss said Keech recommended that he advise the board to add the three agencies — ones that often serve children in her care.
The school board first visited paring down the number of providers at its regular April meeting. Prior to its July decision the board met with nine of 11 companies that submitted proposals for inclusion in the final approved list. The three agencies approved Thursday were ranked numbers four, five and six — after the three agencies approved in July, according to Moss.
The policy change was initially put forth as one that would streamline students’ mental-health care and provide increased safety during school hours.
Moss said those numbers were evidence that limiting the providers had effectively streamlined the mentoring process — one of the goals the board hoped to accomplish by its decision.
School board member William Warren wondered if Moss’ recommendation would negate what the board had set out to accomplish.
Moss said he did not think adding the three agencies would reverse the effects of the board’s earlier decision.
Board member F. Mac Hodges asked if the list would come up for annual review. Moss assured both men that the board has the ability to further amend the list of providers at any time and that the agencies’ performances could be reviewed annually.