From Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services:
COLUMBUS – In an effort to promote healthy social and emotional development and school readiness among children age six and younger, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) today announced $9.1 million in funding that will benefit 75 counties through the agency’s “Whole Child Matters: Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Initiative.”
“The foundations of sound mental health are built early in life,” said OhioMHAS Director Tracy Plouck. “Early experiences — including children’s relationships with parents, caregivers, relatives, teachers, and peers — interact with genes to shape the architecture of the developing brain. Disruptions in this developmental process can impede a child’s capacities for learning and relating to others, with lifelong implications.”
The funding calls for the addition of up to 64 mental health consultants who will work with teachers, staff and families of at-risk children in preschools and other early learning settings. Plans also include establishing a centralized intake process and providing for a small cadre of trainers who will oversee professional development services statewide.
Counselors will work with early learning programs such as childcare, Head Start and preschool to help develop a strong mental health foundation for children in an effort to reduce pre-school expulsions. Services rendered will include: on-site interventions and child/family-focused technical assistance to parents, teachers and staff; resources for parents, training and professional development.
Catholic Charities Community Services of Geauga County was chosen by OhioMHAS as the sole recipient of the grant in Geauga County. Learn more about the Whole Child Matters Initiative here.