The Council for Adolescent and School Health (CASH)
By Lissa Pressfield, MHS
Program Manager, Adolescent Health, AMCHP and
Patti Van Tuinen, M.Ed., CHES
Adolescent Health Coordinator, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Division of Community and Public Health
The mission of the Adolescent Health Program within the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is to promote the health, safety and success of adolescents by facilitating collaboration among Department programs and external partners to address various adolescent health issues and achieve healthy adolescent development. The Council for Adolescent and School Health (CASH), which began as a task force in 1997, advises and assists the Department in identifying adolescent health priorities and promoting strategies to reduce health risks to adolescents and promote healthy youth development. CASH members include: State Agencies (Health, Mental Health, Social Services, Transportation, and Elementary and Secondary Education); Health Care/Public Health/ Mental Health Partners (American Academy of Pediatrics, Adolescent Medicine Consultant from Mercy Hospital, Health Centers, and more); School/Education Affiliations (Association of School Nurses, School Counselor Association, Jefferson City Public Schools, and more); and other organizations serving youth and families (i.e. Missouri 4-H, ParentLink, and more). In 2005, CASH developed the State Framework for Promoting the Health of Adolescents and provided input on the Department’s strategic plan. In 2006, the CASH group participated in the Adolescent Health Program’s System Capacity Assessment to strengthen coordination of programs and services for youth and their families. CASH consists of both internal to the Department and external partners that continue to facilitate collaboration to promote a coordinated family, community and school approach to achieve healthy adolescent development.
In May 2009, AMCHP staff travelled to Missouri and participated in a CASH meeting with the internal partners. During the meeting the members assessed changes in DHSS capacity to address adolescent health issues (since 2007) and reported which programs have been improved, maintained, and disbanded in their Division. In spite of current economic challenges facing the nation, there were an overwhelming number of new, improved, or maintained programs that serve adolescents. Missouri’s CASH members have found effective ways to enhance and maintain their commitment to improving the health and well being of young people. By sharing the successes and challenges related to various programs, the members were able to identify strengths, opportunities and the need for connecting with other programs in the Department as well as access information and resources that will inform and support their future work. Missouri’s CASH serves as a valuable resource that contributes to the success and strength of the Adolescent Health Program in Missouri.