Cal Poly Humboldt Humboldt NOW Search: Eureka City and Del Norte County Schools Partner with Humboldt Social Work on New Mental Health Grant

A pair of new grants from the U.S. Department of Education will bring nearly $5 million to Humboldt and Del Norte county schools to train and place Cal Poly Humboldt Master of Social Work (MSW) students as school social work interns to support youth mental health. 

Eureka City Schools and Del Norte County Unified School District will be the direct recipients of the U.S. Department of Education Mental Health Service Professional Development Program funds. They partnered with Cal Poly Humboldt to write the two mirrored grants.

Local youth experience disproportionate physical and mental health outcomes due to higher than average rates of poverty, substance abuse, and homelessness, that can negatively impact the learning environment. With the new grant local schools hope to continue building support for the community’s most vulnerable students through the training and preparation of school social workers.

Over the next five years, the grants will bring in over $1,000,000 to the University. Yvonne Doble, Director of Field Education at Humboldt’s Department of Social Work, explains that the majority of the funds received by the Department of Social Work will go towards $10,000-$13,000 stipends to MSW students to complete their required field work in local schools during their advanced year of studies.

A long-term goal of the grant is to have graduates of Humboldt’s MSW program prepared to apply for their Social Work Pupil Personnel Services Credential and qualified to provide mental health services within the region’s local school systems for years to come.

“With the grant funding, we are excited about the positive impact this grant will have on the socio-emotional well-being of our students through the placement of MSW student interns from Humboldt,” explains Michael Davies-Hughes, the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at Eureka City Schools.

Northern Humboldt Union High School District Grants Administrator Jack Bareilles explains that the need for mental health professionals and social workers in local public schools is significant. “Currently, the ratio of social workers to students is around 1:9,000,” says Bareilles. “This grant will allow us to develop a pool of social workers who are specially trained to work in our public schools.”

In Del Norte County, District Grants Administrator Steve Godla explains, “We have schools that will really benefit from trained on-site social workers.”

Humboldt’s Department of Social Work anticipates that eight MSW students will receive a stipend in the fall of 2020 with an increase to 13 students by 2023. Students will be selected to receive a stipend based on their commitment to supporting mental health and well-being for local elementary and high school students as their identified career goal.