MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — As another school year begins, Connecticut will have a new statewide center for mitigating the impact of substance misuse and meeting other behavioral supports and needs in the student population.
The State Education Resource Center (SERC) will develop and operate the School-Based Center for Prevention, Education and Advocacy through an extended partnership with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). The effort reflects the state’s continued focus on addressing substance misuse, including Gov. Ned Lamont proclaiming August 31 Overdose Awareness Day.
“We continue to provide programs and services to our schools and communities as we collectively create equitable and safe learning environments for our young people, and we look forward to this ongoing support in substance misuse prevention as well,” said SERC Executive Director Ingrid M. Canady. “The school-based center will help schools connect to what they need before the next crisis.”
SERC will implement a process for collaborating with other agencies on shared resources; reviewing and collecting data on risk and protective factors that influence student behavior; raising awareness and involving the school community in preventing substance misuse; and engaging families and the wider community. The SERC Library, which dates from SERC’s inception in 1969, will serve as a hub of information for the new center to disseminate to schools and their communities.
The center is a natural extension of SERC’s collaborative work with DMHAS under a 2018 State Opioid Response Grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Under the grant, SERC has developed programming and materials and held conferences, virtual workshops, and technical assistance on school-based substance misuse.
The State Education Resource Center (SERC) (ctserc.org) is a quasi-public agency created to assist the Connecticut State Board of Education in promoting educational equity and excellence. SERC provides resources, professional learning, and a centralized library to educators, families, and community members in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education and other public and private partners.