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Old 03-19-2016, 05:43 AM
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Lightbulb Governor cuomo announces $6.8 million to expand mental health services for children


‘Healthy Steps for Young Children’ Program will Integrate Mental Health
Service Providers into Pediatric and Family Medical Practices; Program
will Serve 6,650 New York Children and Families

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $6.8 million in available funds
to implement the Healthy Steps for Young Children program in 19 sites
throughout New York State. This program, offered by the New York State
Office of Mental Health, will fund the integration of a child and family
development professional into pediatric and family medicine doctors’
offices, to help identify, monitor and treat emerging behavioral and
developmental health concerns in young children.

“Early intervention can save lives, and with this funding, we are helping
more children battling mental illness get on the path towards recovery,”
Governor Cuomo said. “This program will reach our youngest New Yorkers so
that they have access to the services and support that they need for
success later in life.”

These embedded child and family development professionals, known as
Healthy Steps Specialists, will work with children from birth to age 5 to
detect and monitor emerging behavioral and developmental issues, educate
families about child development, help them implement healthy parenting
practices, and link children and families to behavioral or developmental
specialists when needed. In tandem with pediatricians and family medicine
providers, this program will engage both the child and family during
routine early-life doctor visits and provide screening services for the
entire family, including screenings for maternal depression, developmental
delays, and childhood traumas that often lead to emotional or chronic
medical problems later in life. These enhanced early-life visits will
offer an opportunity for families to find support in an accessible and
non-stigmatizing environment.

“This program goes further than just assessing and referring the child for
needed services. This model builds on the strengths of the parent and
provides evidence-based strategies that parents can use to promote their
child’s social emotional development and build secure attachments,” said
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T.
Sullivan. “It really incorporates the entire family into the child’s
health care conversation to make sure that the parents have the help they
need to provide for their children’s needs. We know that happy, healthy
parents make for happy, healthy children and that is precisely what this
program seeks to ensure.”

A national evaluation of this program, endorsed by the United States
Department of Health and Human Services, has shown that children and
families enrolled in the Healthy Steps program are more likely to report
developmental concerns to a medical professional, maintain their
engagement with their child’s primary care provider, read to their child,
and be more sensitive to their child’s behavioral cues. This research has
also shown that this program has highly desirable effects on parental
behavior, including the practice of safer and more responsive parenting,
an avoidance of harsh disciplinary tactics, and a higher engagement of
parents with their own health care professionals.

$6,826,728 in three-year state grants will be divided into 19 awards for
medical practices throughout New York. This funding will create a Healthy
Steps Specialist position at 19 pediatric and family medicine practices
and provide the training and technical assistance needed to implement the
program. At full implementation, it is estimated that each of these
practices will deliver Healthy Steps services to 350 families, with the
entire program engaging 6,650 families over three years. After the initial
three-year grant program, it is expected that the Healthy Steps program
will generate sufficient revenue to no longer require grant support and
become self-sustainable.

The Office of Mental Health will be accepting applications through a
Request for Proposal process from pediatric and family medicine practices
which would like to implement the Healthy Steps program.

For more information on the Request for Proposal including requirements,
eligibility, potential site locations, and deadlines for application,
please visit after 10:00 a.m. on
Thursday, March 17, 2016.
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