WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded the Paterson Board of Education a $500,000 grant made available by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will fund the conversion of Schools 6 and 15 in Paterson into Full Service Community Schools (FSCS). The FSCS program encourages an integration of academics, health, social services, youth development and community engagement that will ultimately help students, families and community members develop to their full potential.
"I commend the Paterson Board of Education for taking this important step in improving health programming in our schools," said Rep. Pascrell. "I was proud to vote for the Affordable Care Act, which lowered health care costs and expanded coverage to citizens across the country. Since the ACA has passed, 86 million Americans have received one or more free preventive services, such as check-ups and cancer screenings. Also, 17 million children who have pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage by insurers. This funding will help expand the existing FSCS program in Paterson and ensure that as many children as possible has access to a healthy learning environment."
The Paterson Board of Education has developed a plan to transform many of its schools to Full Service Community Schools, with School 5, New Roberto Clemente School, and Rev. Dr. Frank Napier, Jr. Academy (School 4) already implemented.
“This district has a vision to be a state leader in urban education, and our Full Service Community School initiative is a shining example of how we are achieving this goal,” said Paterson Public Schools’ State District Superintendent, Donnie Evans, Ed. D. “We are extremely grateful to have this additional support to expand our program from three to five Paterson communities. Through key partnerships, we are able to provide our students and their families with valuable academic, health and social services throughout the year.”
In an effort to continue the implementation of this initiative, the grant will fund the transformation of Schools 6 and 15 into FSCS, which will include a medical/dental/mental health clinic.
Each clinic will be open every school day, and will provide clinical services to persons regardless of their insurance status. The clinic will be staffed by a team of health providers working through a cooperative agreement among Saint Joseph’s Regional Hospital, Outreach Clinical Services LLC, and the Paterson Board of Education. This cooperative group is currently in the process of applying to become a Federally Qualified Community-based Clinic.
The goal of the HHS program is to award funds made available by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will support school-based health center efforts to expand capacity to provide primary healthcare services to school-aged children. This competitive funding opportunity will be available to new and existing school-based health centers to address significant and pressing capital improvement needs, including: construction, repair, renovation, and the purchase of equipment.
Paterson's funding is part of more than $80 million that was awarded today to 197 school-based health center programs across the country.