STEPHENVILLE (October 8, 2019) — Tarleton State University’s Center for Child Well-being opened with a ribbon cutting, tours and remarks from community and school leaders. Located in the Howell Building on the Stephenville campus, the center offers psychological consultations and behavioral health resources at a reasonable cost to school-aged children and their families.
Spearheaded by Dr. Stephanie Robertson, a licensed psychologist and specialist in school psychology, the opening follows two years of planning and preparation.
Tarleton President James Hurley called the center an appropriate addition to the university and “a great way to show how much this institution cares about meeting regional needs.” He said the center makes way for partnerships with area school districts and provides internship and research opportunities for students and faculty.
Robertson said the center will connect Tarleton with local school districts, medical providers and other community organizations to provide evidence-based psychological and behavioral health resources that are easy to access and understand. She noted that “early onset of child mental illness is predictive of lower school achievement, an increased burden on the child welfare system, and greater demand on the juvenile justice system.”
Based on the number of practitioners per capita, Texas meets only 45 percent of its mental healthcare needs, she said. With 24 percent of the Erath County population living in poverty, many Stephenville-area young people lack healthcare coverage.
Area children often are sent to Fort Worth and Dallas for psychological evaluations, Robertson said, with waitlists exceeding a year.
“The ratio of mental health service providers to residents is 1 to 78, and many school districts in Erath and the surrounding counties are too small to employ full-time psychologists. When complicated psychological profiles emerge in their students, there can be difficulties. The best way to reduce the impact of mental health disorders is by identifying and treating them early.”
The Center for Child Well-Being is a collaboration of Tarleton’s departments of Psychological Sciences, Social Work, Educational Diagnostics and Counseling. Services will include parent support groups; psycho-educational workshops with local businesses, educators and medical providers; and group therapy, along with individualized sessions involving psychological evaluations, psychotherapy and case consultations.
For more information, contact Robertson at email@example.com or 254-968-9903.