The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), in partnership with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s Children’s Initiative and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), announced Thursday the recipients of nearly $1 million to expand early childhood mental health services.

The funding, which will benefit 12 organizations serving regional populations, reflects Governor DeWine’s mission to elevate the importance of children’s programming in Ohio and drive improvements within the many state programs that serve children.

“The first few years of every child’s life are critically important. During this time period, children are building the foundation for the rest of their lives. It’s important that we ensure they also have the emotional and behavioral skills to succeed,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “In Ohio, we are committed to doing everything we can to help our young people thrive and reach their full potential as adults by providing more Ohio children with access to early childhood mental health services and supports.”

Early childhood mental health consultation seeks to promote positive outcomes for infants and young children by helping caregivers (i.e. family members, early education providers, etc.) develop the attitudes and skills necessary to effectively support the social and emotional development of the young children in their care. This is important, because national data shows that pre-K children are expelled at three times the rate as K-12 students for challenging behaviors.

The awards fall under three broad categories which aim to promote healthy social and emotional development and school readiness among children age six and younger: increasing access to mental health supports within pediatric and primary care settings; helping communities improve their Step Up to Quality ratings for childcare learning and developmental programs; and partnering with DODD to include early childhood mental health consultation in existing services.

“This funding supports Ohio’s ability to intervene early with some of our youngest children, when we can have the greatest impact,” DODD Director Jeff Davis said. “In addition, the Governor’s investment in these services has fostered coordination between the two state agencies.”

“Ohio’s commitment to increase access to high-quality early learning settings remains central to the state’s plan for children’s success,” OhioMHAS Director Lori Criss said. “Governor DeWine’s support, through his Office of Children’s Initiatives, demonstrates his ongoing dedication to ensuring that Ohio’s children achieve optimal mental wellness.”

SFY 2020 Early Childhood Mental Health Expansion Award recipients are:

• Alta Care, Mahoning, SUTQ Expansion, $155,244;

• Applewood, Cuyahoga, SUTQ Expansion, $70,624;

• Catalyst Life Services, Richland, SUTQ Expansion, $51,244;

• Catholic Charities SWO, Butler,  Early Intervention, $39,525;

• Child Focus, Hamilton, Early Intervention, $59,000;

• Children’s Resource Center, Wood, Early Intervention, $72,806;

• Greene ESC, Greene, Pediatric Expansion, $168,500;

• Harbor Behavioral Health, Lucas, SUTQ Expansion, $83,532;

• Hopewell Behavioral Health, Athens, Early Intervention, $60,000;

• Mercy Health St. Vincent’s,  Lucas, Pediatric Expansion, $100,896;

• Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Franklin, Pediatric Expansion, $69,325;

• Ohio Guidestone, Cuyahoga, Early Intervention, $60,000.