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State grant funds mental health liaison at Chanute Elementary

Posted Date: 01/12/2021

State grant funds mental health liaison at Chanute Elementary

Chanute is one of 27 school districts to receive some extra hands on help working with students’ social and emotional needs this school year. The help came in the form of a $66,965 Mental Health Intervention Team grant from the legislature to add a mental health professional to work with students in Chanute Elementary and Royster middle school.

“I’m the liaison between the school district and the SEK Mental Health Center,” said Taryn Sigler. “I work with the mental health therapist and the case manager,” she said, “but also school staff and families to best meet the needs of the kids.”liaison walks down hallway with student

When many people are working with a child, sometimes important information doesn’t get shared with everyone.

Sigler is the point person working with everyone else who has a stake in the child’s welfare. She can open the lines of communication among the teachers, parents, principals and mental health teams.

“I do meet with kids,” but that’s not a first priority, she said. “My role here is to bridge that gap, making a positive impact on their life and also their families.”

Sigler has worked in child welfare as a social worker for 14 years. This is her job in a school setting. 

“CES has been super amazing. They’ve put me to work. I’m thrilled they’ve accepted this program. You can tell they really do care about the social-emotional needs of children,” she said.

Just having Sigler inside the school makes an impact.

“Kids can’t learn to the fullest potential if their social and emotional needs aren’t met,” she said. “Having the program at school takes so much weight off parents,” in terms of transportation, scheduling, pulling a child out of school, parents getting off work.

Now, it’s just a walk down the hallway to meet with a team member or a child in crisis. Teachers can call her.

“The goal of the program is to make sure kids are getting the treatment they need. I monitor and track the needs of the kiddo,” she said.

It’s been a good transition.

“I love it. It’s just so great to be around the kids,” she said.