Partners of Change
LSSWis - Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan

Lutheran Social Services of
Wisconsin and Upper Michigan


Partners of Change 

A New Vision for School Mental Health Services


All children and families deserve access to culturally appropriate, comprehensive and preventative mental health services to prepare Wisconsin’s children for academic success and successful transition into adulthood. The Partners of Change (PoC) committee is a coordinated group of individuals, community organizations, schools, coalitions, funders and healthcare organizations committed to improving children’s mental health in Wisconsin. This is an urgent issue, and we are using our collective expertise to influence policy change.

Right now most children in WI have no mental health access in their schools. Some have a social worker, or a licensed therapist at the school, or partner with a community provider to have a therapist come to the school to work with identified children. We believe our children and families, the future of Wisconsin, deserve better. 

We have developed a new School Centered Mental Health model to expand on the good work already being done, and expand the vision of mental health services to reach the parents, teachers and larger community. 


If you would like more information on Partners of Change please email


What does Partners of Change do? 

  • The PoC is a results-driven group committed to influencing policy change to sustain more comprehensive and impactful, preventative mental health services through advocacy and data collection.
  • The PoC will provide programming oversight to ensure fidelity of the model.  This includes consistent data collection across programs via utilization of the same assessment tools, screeners and questionnaires.
  • The PoC will provide data analysis and data sharing oversight to demonstrate the impact and   success of SCMH services across Wisconsin.


Policy Initiatives

The Partners of Change Committee (PoC) supports policy that allows comprehensive and preventative mental health services to be sustainable.   

PoC current policy agenda

  • Seek permanent funding for existing Medicaid coverage of clinical consultation for students - to include the expansion of the consultation code to include phone consultation with parents.
  • Seek funding for five SCMH programs throughout the state to expand data collection  in order to measure impact of services. 

Future policy initiatives

  • Expand the scope of that is reimbursable under Medicaid (outside of Comprehensive Community Services funding) to include a continuum of support for families through in-home and community family coaching/skill development.
  • Increasing the overall Medicaid reimbursement rates for Mental Health services.

Tell me more

How is this model different that what we already have? 

Traditional Model of School Based Mental Health:

Therapy: School district therapist, or community therpist provides mental health services at the school for identified students. (May include consultation with teachers)

The PoC recognizes the positive impact of traditional school-based mental health (SBMH) services as evidenced by existing research.  This more comprehensive approach,  aligns service coordination across settings to impact the child, the family system, and the school system.

Our Comprehensive School Centered Mental Health Model: 

Therapy: The SCMH therapy reaches beyond the school.  This therapist provides evidence-based therapy to the identified child and their family at the school, in the home, or an appropriate community-based setting based on family need and/or preference. By meeting the child and family wherever they are, it not only increases access to services but also encourages parent engagement for greater impact.

School Partnerships: SCMH programs thoughtfully on-board schools that are willing and have the capacity to participate as a vital partner in the treatment process.  SCMH partners with schools who can provide referrals, appropriate onsite space for therapy and SCMH team meetings, and support implementation of child-specific interventions and data collection for program outcomes. Schools also provide data related to items such as academic success, attendance, and behavior referrals.

Family Skill Development: The Family Coach works within the family system in the home to provide services related to developing skills, parent education and meeting goals. The Family Coach co-creates home interventions with the family based on their strengths, reported needs and in alignment with the therapeutic goals. The Family Coach also connects the family to identified resources. The  family coach works on social determinants of health factors such as employment, transportation, food security and safe and stable housing.    

Behavior Interventions: The SCMH therapist observes, consults weekly and works with the child’s school team to create child-specific behavior interventions to increase positive behavior and improve overall classroom performance.  Interventions are designed to support teachers to modify difficult behaviors while fostering positive student relationships. 

Physical Health: SCMH programs collaborate with community health organizations to assist families in establishing primary care providers,  overall care coordination of medical needs, such as medication monitoring, and health education.

Training and Education: SCMH programs ensure the SCMH staff are adequately trained, as they are also expected to provide training to parents, school staff, and the greater community. Each SCMH program must have a process to collect feedback in order to identify training topics of interest and/or need. 

Research and Assessment: All SCMH programs utilize the same assessment tools, screeners and questionnaires to not only track improvement and quality of services but to data share with other SCMH programs.


For more detailed information you can find more information in our SCMH White Paper.  

6737 W. Washington Street
Suite 2275
West Allis, WI 53214

Affiliated with

Member Of

An agency of

© 2019 Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan