Texas Education Agency honors program at School of Nursing Children's Wellness Center

AUSTIN, Texas—A University of Texas at Austin Children’s Wellness Center program supporting early identification of children who need special education services has received a 2003 Texas Education Agency Showcase of Promising Practices Recognition.

The Child Find program is a collaboration between the School of Nursing Children’s Wellness Center and the Del Valle Independent School District. It was established at the Wellness Center in 2002. Only six programs throughout the state were honored this year with Promising Practice Recognitions.

The Showcase of Promising Practices is a partnership project among special education programs statewide, the state’s 20 Education Service Centers and the Texas Education Agency. During the 2003-04 school year, representatives from the practices will network with Texas school districts to further develop and improve special education services throughout the state.

A reception to celebrate the honor will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 16 at the Children’s Wellness Center, 3311 FM 973 South in Del Valle. The public is welcome.

“We are very proud of our ability to collaborate with Del Valle Independent School District in providing this service to the children,” said Pat Budd, a university pediatric nurse practitioner and director of the Children’s Wellness Center. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the Texas Education Agency.”

The collaboration between the school and clinic has been of great benefit to the children and families in the Del Valle community, said Child Find Coordinator Faye Rozmaryn. “We’re the one-stop-shopping for evaluating children who may need special education services,” she said.

The school-based and nurse-managed Children’s Wellness Center was established in 1996 with a Texas Department of Health grant. It offers health care to thousands of children in the rural community regardless of ability to pay.

Within the Del Valle community, 65 percent of the population is impoverished, 50 percent are transient, and there is a high percent of Spanish-speaking residents. Early intervention for families with children who may need special education services is made more difficult with transportation and communication issues.

Child Find provides parents with easy access for health and developmental screening and a single contact point is ensured throughout the assessment process.

In addition to providing health care services, the center also serves as a clinical site for university graduate and undergraduate nursing students and providesdata for research by nursing faculty members.

“This unique collaboration has facilitated each agency’s ability to coordinate comprehensive services,” said Tamara Trager, a social worker at the center. “We know it’s working when the parents, who have come to discuss concerns regarding their child, leave with a smile on their faces.

“The program demonstrates Del Valle ISD’s desire to individually address the needs of each child, and also demonstrates the university's commitment to service,” Trager said. “By working together, we have created better services and we did so without creating a larger budget.”

For more information contact: Nancy Neff, 512-471-6504.