Non-Public Special Education Programs: Evaluating the Costs of Within School Alternatives for Students with Emotional Disturbance

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Evaluation of the costs and associated budgetary savings of schoolbased mental health program alternatives to non-public education program placements is a task made increasingly necessary by external pressures on school districts' budgets. The purpose of this article is to present information from an assessment of costs and related savings associated with an innovative school mental health program that provides intensive mental health and case management services in a regular public school setting. The program is designed to avert non-public placements of students in special education identified as emotionally disturbed. We estimated a program total cost of $7,212 per student per year, or $30 per student per day. This cost was associated with a total savings of $31,826 per student per year, or $133 per student per day averted. These estimates suggest that intensive school mental health programs could in many instances offer a financially viable alternative to non-public placement.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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  • Published by The Clifford Beers Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Advances in School Mental Health Promotion emphasises the interconnectedness of research, policy, training and practice and the opportunities to make progress in all these areas through global dialogue, collaboration and action. Mark Weist (University of South Carolina and former director/senior advisor of the Center for School Mental Health) and Michael Murray (The Clifford Beers Foundation) are the editors, supported by a distinguished international editorial board.

    Advances in School Mental Health Promotion is an academic journal that co-ordinates the dissemination of new research outcomes to all those involved in policy making and the implementation of mental health promotion in schools and is essential reading for those with a personal or professional interest in this work.

    Peer reviewed by an expert international board, the Journal is a comprehensive information resource which publishes material of distinction submitted by those with a clinical, professional, academic or personal interest in promoting mental health in schools

    The aim of the Journal is to increase awareness, foster understanding and promote collaboration between the different disciplines engaged in this diverse activity of study.

    Advances in School Mental Health Promotion is the official journal of the International Alliance for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools (InterCAMHS), an alliance that aims to promote the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

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