Students and families in more communities throughout Nova Scotia will have greater access to services, after-school programs and more mental health clinicians through SchoolsPlus.
Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey joined students and staff today, April 25, at Riverside Education Centre in Milford, Hants County, for the opening of its new hub site, which will support five more schools.
In the 2016-17 budget, government is investing $500,000 for three new SchoolsPlus hub sites, one each in the Halifax Regional School Board, Chignecto Regional School Board and in Tri-County Regional School Board as well as an expansion of services in Conseil scolaire acadien provincial.
“We are addressing the unique needs of more students, families and communities by providing them with a full range of support services through SchoolsPlus,” said Karen Casey, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.
“Whether it’s homework support or providing mental health counselling, it is important that it is delivered in a safe, comfortable and familiar location for students and their families.”
Six more mental health clinicians are being hired to support SchoolsPlus sites across the province, bringing the total to 29 clinicians.
SchoolsPlus brings a range of mental health services and other health programs together with mentoring, social work, homework support and justice services into schools where children, youth and families can easily access them.
“Being a mental health clinician in the school has allowed me to significantly reduce barriers to youth accessing services,” said Penny Gill, SchoolsPlus mental health clinician for schools in the Chignecto-Central board.
“I have definitely been able to support students that would have otherwise not accessed the treatment that they needed due to transportation, fear, or other barriers. Being a part of the Schools Plus team has allowed us to truly provide a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of our most vulnerable students effectively and efficiently.”
At similar events held elsewhere today Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell announced a new hub site at Bell Park Academic Centre in Lake Echo that will support eight more schools for Halifax Regional School Board and, in Hebron, Municipal Affairs Minister Zach Churchill announced that a new hub site for the Tri-County Regional School Board, serving three more schools, will be at Maple Grove Education Centre.
Also, with an expansion that brings the remaining four schools into the program, all schools in the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial are now supported by SchoolsPlus.
There are now 28 SchoolsPlus hub sites in the province providing services to more than 200 schools.
Other highlights in the 2016-2017 budget related to Education and Early Childhood Development include more reading recovery teachers, math mentors, class caps, and professional development for teachers and wage grants for early childhood educators.
SchoolsPlus is available in all eight school boards. For more information, visit http://schoolsplus.ednet.ns.ca .