U.S. Education Secretary Cardona Visits Eisenberg Elementary to Announce $4.8 Million to Help Delaware Address Youth Mental Health

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Today, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona came to Eisenberg Elementary School in the Colonial School District to announce new federal funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to help schools provide mental health resources to Delaware students. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was supported by Delaware’s congressional delegation of Senators Tom Carper, Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.), included legislation co-written by Senator Carper that addresses youth mental health. Senator Coons was a member of the bipartisan working group that negotiated the text of the legislation.

Sec. Cardona kicked off a roundtable discussion with local stakeholders by announcing $4.8 million has been allocated to the state of Delaware to support safer and healthier learning environments for K-12 students, including through increased school-based mental health support. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act provided historic funding to support students, including $1 billion for creating safer and healthier learning environments, and another $1 billion to increase the number of school-based health professionals. 

Additionally, Eisenberg Elementary was the first elementary school in Delaware to start a wellness center, and has been a leader in supporting students’ mental health.  

“The wellness center at this school represents the sort of integrated mental health support we need to see systematized across this country.  We owe it to our children to raise the bar for them — to do more, not the same as we did before the pandemic,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I’m proud that the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the American Rescue Plan are helping states and schools do just that,” said Secretary Cardona.

“Today’s discussion shows the importance of federal, state, and local stakeholders working together to improve access to the health care services in our schools,” said Senator Carper. “I was proud that the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act included my provisions to increase access to telehealth and school-based mental health care, and I’m pleased that nearly $5 million in new federal funding will be coming to Delaware to address the youth mental health crisis. Ensuring that schools like Eisenberg Elementary can provide critical health services for students has been a priority of mine since I served as governor of Delaware, and I’m delighted to have played a part in expanding and enhancing these services nationwide.”

“I was pleased to welcome Secretary Cardona to Delaware today to show him the great work the First State is doing to provide trauma-informed and mental health care services in our schools,” said Senator Coons. “I’m grateful for the efforts of teachers and other school staff who have helped children through this tough time, and I am proud to announce that $4.8 million will be coming to Delaware through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which I helped negotiate, to expand access to these services”.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the youth mental health crisis impacting young people in Delaware and across the country,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “Today’s roundtable was an opportunity for us to come together to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the role all of us – elected officials, the Biden-Harris Administration, school and community leaders, and healthcare professionals – play in providing our young people with the tools and resources they need to succeed. But we know that more can and should be done to address this crisis. That’s why Secretary Cardona’s announcement of $4.8 million in funding for Delaware to expand youth mental health services is so important – because it will allow for us to continue to support young people through services like the ones we saw at Eisenberg Elementary. I’m grateful to Secretary Cardona for visiting Delaware today for this important conversation and look forward to continuing my work in Congress to further expand mental health services for young people.”

“Students need their physical, mental and social emotional needs met to be able to concentrate on their academic goals,” said Delaware’s Secretary of Education Dr. Mark Holodick. “Our schools must support the whole child – and whole family. Our communities value the support mental health professionals bring to our schools, and we are grateful this funding will help us expand that staffing.”