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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Child psychiatric services coming to school

  • WALLENPAUPACK- Children in the Wallenpaupack Area School District in need of mental healthcare won't have to travel far to get it starting with the 2014-2015 school year. In fact, the therapists will be available right at the school.
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  • WALLENPAUPACK-  Children in the Wallenpaupack Area School District in need of mental healthcare won't have to travel far to get it starting with the 2014-2015 school year. In fact, the therapists will be available right at the school.
      Gwen Davendorf, Director of Special Education, told the School Board August 18th that the District now has an agreement with Friendship House. Therapists from this agency will be available at least two days a week, meeting in offices at the North Primary School and North Intermediate School. Middle School students will also be able to utilize the service.
        Previously, when a student needed outpatient counseling, parents needed to take them as far as Carbondale and Milford to meet with the therapist. They would have to miss at least a half day of school. Now they won't need to be away from class as long.
        Parents of children at South Elementary at Newfoundland will be able to drive the kids to the Wallenpaupack North campus. Davendorf said that this provides another option for families; they may still choose to stay with a mental health provider at Carbondale, Milford, Honesdale or Lords Valley.
       Presently Friendship House won't be sending a therapist to South Elementary because the numbers weren't there, she said, although interest may increase.
       By having the service right in the Wallenpaupack schools, Davendorf said that she expects the numbers of families seeking assistance to grow. There is a great need among the younger children, she said. A lot of children, however, are not being seen by a therapist due to logistics as well as a lack of available psychiatrists.
       Tele-psychiatry, which involves providing psychiatric assessment by video conference technology, will be pursued. This should help in expanding the services the children need, she indicated.
        Expenses for the mental health service for most of the children are paid through Medical Assistance. These services are provided at no cost to the Wallenpaupack taxpayers.
        Friendship House also will work with parents to help them to deal with behavioral and emotional issues, which Davendorf said is a new endeavor.

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