Item Coversheet

Action Item - 43.

Title: Contracts with Friends Behavioral Health Systems and the Therapeutic Center at Fox Chase – Educational Programs for School Age Children Receiving Mental Health Services at Residential Treatment Facilities (RTFs) Located in Philadelphia ($610,000)

Board of Education Meeting Date:

Action under consideration

 The Administration recommends that the Board of Education authorize The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute and perform a contract, subject to funding, as follows: 


Friends Behavioral Health System, LP

The Therapeutic Center at Fox Chase



Provision of educational programs when appropriate, for students receiving inpatient mental health treatment at residential treatment facilities located in Philadelphia

 Start date: 7/1/2020

 End date: 6/30/2021
 Compensation not to exceed: $610,000 
 Separate Compensation by Vendor:

Friends Behavioral Health System, LP - $100,000

The Therapeutic Center at Fox Chase - $510,000


The Therapeutic Center at Fox Chase, The Bridge and Villa

8400 Pine Road

Philadelphia, PA 19111


Friends Behavioral Health System, LP

Friends Hospital

4641 Roosevelt Boulevard

Philadelphia, PA 19124

 Renewal Options:  No


The Therapeutic Center at Fox Chase (Bridge) and Friends Behavioral Health System, LP (Friends) are residential treatment facilities (RTF) located in Philadelphia that provide in-patient mental health services to children and adolescents with acute psychological disorders. The District does not place school-age children and adolescents in RTFs.  Rather, the juvenile justice system, Community Behavioral Health (CBH), the Department of Public Welfare, medical doctors, and parents make these “non-educational placement” determinations.  This action item requests authorization to contract with the Bridge and Friends for the provision of student educational programs. The educational programs provided at Friends and the Bridge will include full-time certified special education teachers and behavioral support staff.  Students with disabilities will receive educational services in accordance with their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Students will receive educational programming at these facilities when educationally and therapeutically appropriate, or when necessary to ensure the safety of the student or the community.  Student educational placement determinations at RTFs are not made by presumption, but after consideration on an individual basis.  Under Pennsylvania law, school districts provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to school-age children who receive mental health treatment at RTFs located within their boundaries.  The District’s responsibility to provide educational services to school age children at RTFs located in Philadelphia includes children whose parents do not reside in Philadelphia.


 Friends provides treatment to school-age children who are in mental health crisis. Treatment is usually short-term lasting until the child is stabilized and ready to return to school. Children and adolescents are placed at the Bridge through court order and are usually adjudicated as delinquent. School-age children receiving treatment at the Bridge have histories of delinquency, truancy, elopement, serious drug and alcohol  addition, and/or criminal activity. The security and safety of children receiving treatment at the Bridge is a primary concern. The types of behaviors and medical conditions of students placed in both these RTFs may  include physical aggression, sexual aggression, acting out, self-injury, severe depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, personality disorders, bi-polar disorder, clinically diagnosed mood disorders, and addiction. Many receive therapeutic medications during the day.  The RTFs communicate and cooperate with each student’s home school to facilitate the transfer of records and the education of the students. Educational programs are incorporated and interwoven within each student's therapeutic plan and are part of their continuum of mental health services. The District’s Office of Specialized Services oversees the RTFs' educational programs and services.

 Anchor Goal(s) Supported: Anchor Goal 1 - 100% of students will graduate ready for college or career   

 Funding Source(s): 
FY20-21 Operating

 Office Originating Request: Academic Support