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Lancaster County expands behavioral health services

A 2015 study found that while behavioral health services are available to children and teenagers in Lancaster County, it can be hard for providers to connect families to those services.

With a goal of addressing needs found through the study, several county organizations are receiving grant funds from the Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation, the Lancaster-based organization that conducted the study.

The foundation, which focuses on improving public health in Lancaster County by starting with children’s health services, announced yesterday that it donated funds to four local organizations.

Autism resources

In Lancaster City, two organizations received funding.

The Lancaster Public Library will expand its autism resources thanks to a $3,500 grant for its Autism Resource Center. It services 6,000 family members, 2,000 children and 500 community members by providing updated materials and resources about Autism Spectrum disorder.

CASA of Lancaster County, or Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, received $25,000 toward coordinating children’s behavioral health. The funding will serve 140 children by expanding behavioral health screenings, and it will provide behavioral health advocates for youth entering foster care.

CASA will work in collaboration with the Lancaster County Children and Youth Social Service Agency.

Parent intervention

The other two organizations to receive funding from the Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation are in Manheim Township.

One is COBYS Family Services, which offers services such as adoption, foster care and counseling. A $9,800 grant is earmarked for a parent intervention program, and will allow the organization to serve about 14 families in the Solanco School District.

Samaritan Counseling Center, meanwhile, received $20,000 for its TeenHope program, which offers mental health screenings. The funds will allow it to serve more than 7,500 people.

More funding to come

In total, an estimated 3,648 adolescents will be affected by these funds, according to Anna Brendle Kennedy, executive director of Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation.

“Together with these partners, we will improve public health and well-being in Lancaster County through programs for children’s behavioral health,” Kenney said.

An additional $41,070 in grant funds will be available in the fall, and interested organizations can submit letters of intent online, starting in June 2016.

Lenay Ruhl

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