Month: October 2023

DePelchin expanding mental health services with Valour gift

A new $3 million grant from the Valour Foundation will allow DePelchin Children’s Center to significantly expand access to counseling services for children and adults in the Greater Houston area.


The grant, which will be distributed over three years, will further DePelchin’s goal of providing more counseling services in schools, community centers and other Houston locations, with a focus on reaching under-resourced populations, serving at least 1,000 individuals who would otherwise be unable to access help for mental health challenges.


The Valour Foundation grant will support DePelchin’s three-pronged approach to reaching under-resourced children and families suffering with untreated mental health conditions:

  • School-based counseling. DePelchin will expand its program embedding professional counselors in schools that have high proportions of under-resourced students. Since 2012, DePelchin has provided mental health clinicians to elementary, middle and high schools throughout Harris County. DePelchin currently has clinicians placed in 18 schools. The Valour Foundation grant will allow the program to expand to several new schools, serving a projected 120 additional students each calendar year.
  • Office-based and virtual counseling. DePelchin will place more professional counselors in communities with high levels of unmet need, while also making counselors more widely available through virtual appointments. The Valour Foundation grant will fund new clinical staff, which will allow DePelchin to serve 200 new families in the first year and 230 families in years two and three of the project.
  • Crisis counseling and triage. The demand for DePelchin’s no-cost, high-quality counseling services is high. Oftentimes this means that families must wait before being connected to needed services. With support from the Valour Foundation, DePelchin will implement a call-in assessment center that will expand their capacity to quickly connect families with needed services. With more available counselors, DePelchin hopes to offer same day or next day appointments.  Callers will be directed toward the most appropriate DePelchin program for their needs, or DePelchin may connect them with another organization. This expansion is expected to result in a 50% reduction in wait times from receipt of a referral to the first contact made with a clinician.


“In Greater Houston, DePelchin’s name is synonymous with high-quality mental health services, especially for children who have experienced the trauma of abuse or neglect, and for families whose mental health issues threaten their ability to stay together,” said DePelchin President and CEO Jenifer Jarriel. “Our vision is that of a world in which every child is safe and healthy, and this generous investment from the Valour Foundation will help us realize that vision by working with children and families who are under-resourced in regard to addressing mental health.”


The funding comes at a moment of tremendous need. Nationally, Texas ranks last in access to mental health services. As recently as 2021, more than 50% of Texas’ children diagnosed with mental illness received no treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


Beth Yudofksy, Director at The Valour Foundation, said “We are delighted to grant $3 million to DePelchin Children’s Center, empowering them to significantly expand access to counselling services for children and adults in the Greater Houston area. This three-year commitment aligns with our mission to enhance the mental wellness of individuals and communities, and support under-resourced populations in their pursuit of mental health services. Together, we aim to impact the lives of at least 1,000 individuals who would otherwise struggle to access the help they need. Our investment will support DePelchin’s comprehensive approach, spanning school-based counselling, office-based and virtual counselling, and crisis counselling and triage, all designed to reduce wait times and provide essential care. We are honored to partner with DePelchin Children’s Center in this vital endeavour.’’


Further, in November 2022, the Kinder Institute at Rice University published a comprehensive needs assessment of Houston ISD’s students, parents, and teachers to determine what types of services and supports should be prioritized to help students succeed. The authors’ top recommendation was to improve access to mental health services. School staff ranked mental health supports as the #1 priority for their campuses. Parents listed cost and knowledge about where to find services as primary barriers to accessing help.

DePelchin supports emotional wellness through an array of services

One way to ensure that children are in safe and loving homes is to meet their mental health needs and those of their family members. With the start of National Emotional Wellness Month on October 1, we want to highlight the many ways that our programs support emotional wellness in children and families.


In fact, emotional wellness is a common thread throughout our work. For example, when we work with children in foster care, we work to make sure that they are receiving the counseling they need. We also provide counseling and parenting guidance for parents in our prevention programs, which aim to keep families safe and healthy so that foster care does not become necessary. At our Family Resource Center, we point families toward a variety of services that can help them, including mental health services. Finally, we provide school-based counseling at 18 campuses in four school districts in order to help the educators at those schools meet students’ needs.


All told, in 2022, DePelchin provided 19,000 hours of counseling and therapy services. 


Fortunately, we are building on these services. DePelchin recently announced a $5.9 million gift from Project Shine, Inc., a nonprofit organization supported by Houston philanthropists Lara and Bill Perkins. Some of that funding will allow us to decrease wait times for families who are served by DePelchin’s counseling programs. We will enhance its intake, assessment, and crisis response teams, while also hiring more clinical staff to increase the number of families who can access services. 


The gift from Project Shine will also help enhance the quality and scope of our residential programs, which serve youth including those who cannot safely reside in a foster home, those who are pregnant or parenting, and those who are about to age out of foster care.  


While we offer a wide variety of programs at DePelchin, they all work to support the mental well-being of children and families. We are grateful to the supporters who make it possible for us to address emotional wellness in children and families.