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  • Writer's pictureJulie Love

Welcome Back

So, my summer was unpleasantly eventful. Remember the MA Child Psychiatry Access Project? That’s the program we merged with, to administer the funding the state earmarked to continue the McLean School Nurse Liaison Project, thanks to the tremendous advocacy of all of you. Well, near the end of June, they told me that MCPAP had decided to terminate the program, and McLean promptly follow suit.

You might be confused why a thriving program serving a clearly evident need would be terminated. You might also wonder why/how you’re still hearing from me. And isn’t that logo up there something new?

I don’t know what to tell you. I think it makes no sense to end the program, and I found myself unable to simply shrug and walk away. I spent the summer trying to find another entity to host the program, but discovered most large organizations are understandably slow to make such decisions, and we needed something ready for the start of the school year. Plus, I have some well-earned skepticism around trusting organizations. Some abandonment issues.

So instead, this is the plan:

STEP ONE: Found our own nonprofit. A key principle is that any program serving schools must welcome input from the schools it serves, so the Board of Directors will be school staff, representing a variety of school roles, regions, and types of schools.

STEP TWO: Continue to offer the services we have all along, and as always, continue to evolve and develop services based on requests from the schools.

STEP THREE: Ask the state to re-establish funding to sustain the program in the next budget cycle.

There are naturally a few barriers to overcome. A key flaw in the plan is where offering services happens before re-establishing state funding. This will be a difficult year, and some services must be scaled back. While it is nice to be able to proceed on steps like developing the logo and a WEBSITE without waiting for the Powers That Be to grant their permission / approval, the paycheck was quite helpful – vital, even. I doubt I can survive a year on just my private practice (esp. since that caseload it cuts into time for SNLP). Once the nonprofit is set up, it will be welcoming donations, and we need to charge a stipend for some services this year.

As always – even more than usual – I welcome your comments, suggestions, and feedback. If you have ideas for financial support, have opinions about which services you really want me to continue if possible, or anything else, please reach out to me. Also, talk to each other – help get all the schools / districts to sign the new Enrollment Letter, and help make all the staff aware of the program and invested in its future. Both of these will be important when we ask the state for funding next spring.

If we can just get through this year and obtain funding, the program will be secure and I can finally go back to focusing on providing you the support you need, without the distraction of the ongoing fight for survival. With your help, I know we can do it.

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