In late December of 2007 Tom McNeely, the clinical director for the Sioux Trails Mental Health Center, received a Request for Proposals (RFP) from the Minnesota Department of Human Services soliciting grant applications for a new school-linked mental health program. The school-linked program would provide students (K-12) attending public schools full therapeutic services in an effort to reduce mental health issues as a barrier to learning. This approach mirrored Sioux Trails’ belief that a holistic philosophy incorporating prevention and early intervention is the most effective healthcare service. Since the RTF seemed a good fit for the agency, Mr. McNeely, along with the executive director and business manager, spent the next month writing a proposal. The process for writing the proposal turned out to be time-consuming and complex. The administrative team created a school-linked program, developed a budget, and received letters of support from area schools interested in participating. To receive these letters Mr. McNeely presented the tenets of the program to school superintendents at conferences, or individually over the telephone. While DHS accepted the Sioux Trails grant proposal, they requested answers to additional attachments and clarifications on items such as timelines and measurement of outcomes, which took additional re-writes and several months to satisfy. The final proposal called for the implementation of school-linked mental health services to 16 area schools in Brown, Nicollet, Sibley, and Watonwan counties. The services would include crisis intervention, diagnostic assessments, individual/family/group counseling, skills training, interpretive services, and consultations, among others. Perhaps the most important part of the proposal called for Sioux Trails to develop a collaborative history with schools in providing holistic services. This history would create a connection between Sioux Trails and the schools that would help promote the success of the program after the grant ceases its funding.


Robin Wingo

Date of Degree




Document Type

Other Capstone Project


Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Social and Behavioral Sciences

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