After more than 25 years, Lincoln Child Center has transitioned away from providing nonpublic school and day treatment services through its Conyes Academy, while expanding its EXCEL program which provides services at public school sites. This shift, from serving students in separate facilities to integration with general school populations, is part of a movement in the special education field to serve students in need at their schools of origin. The closing of the Academy also coincides with Lincoln Child Center's launch and expansion of new intensive care programs in seven classrooms at four different school sites in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. These programs facilitate early intervention for children with mental health issues and easier assimilation into the general school population. They are highly effective, and help to remove the stigma of mental health care.
The Conyes Academy was founded in 1987 to serve students in need of intensive mental health services. From the beginning, the school's intention was to work with students to transition them into regular school settings. At its peak, Conyes served 72 children in seven classrooms on the Lincoln Avenue site where Lincoln Child Center had been located from 1929 until May of this year. Over the years, many students were re-introduced to their school of origin, and enrolled in programs at those schools.
The Academy was renamed in 2006 as "The Robert & Harriet Conyes Elementary School" to honor the generosity of Harriet Conyes. Mrs. Conyes was a member of Lincoln's volunteer "Tulip Flower" group from 1976 until her death in 2004.
This transition reflects Lincoln's commitment to continuous evaluation of its services, its partnerships with school districts and county behavioral health, and most importantly, the importance of innovating to meet the needs of the children, youth and families it serves.
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