New initiative examines children's mental healthPeople like to think that their sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren – even the little kid next door with the permanently runny nose and a penchant for mischief – all will grow up happy, healthy and well-adjusted.
People like to think that their sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren – even the little kid next door with the permanently runny nose and a penchant for mischief – all will grow up happy, healthy and well-adjusted.
But studies show that if the social and emotional needs of young children are unmet, even at their tender age, they are at risk for a whole host of troubles, including poor school performance, emotional and behavioral problems, and juvenile delinquency.
In Minnesota and across the U.S., there are rising numbers of young children who have mental health issues. Their needs are becoming apparent through challenging behaviors in school and child care situations.
That’s why West Central Initiative, in conjunction with Douglas County Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) – Building Connections – is promoting the healthy social and emotional development of young children.
Building Connections is helping communities develop local strategies that can support parents, early care and education providers, healthcare practitioners and others who work on behalf of young children, to give them the best possible start for a healthy life of learning, succeeding and achieving.
On May 28, West Central Initiative and Building Connections conducted a day of interviews about early childhood mental health in Douglas County. Child care providers, social workers, public health workers, health care workers, parents and more volunteered time out of their day to give their perceptions of the type of care and opportunities available in Douglas County for young children's healthy social and emotional development.
WCI will compile the results and present them with Building Connections at a public forum early this fall.
Building Connections is committed to helping young children in the community grow, learn and thrive. The ECI is a group of local early childhood professionals, government agencies, businesses and community partners who meet regularly to support families in Douglas County with more awareness of and access to early childhood opportunities.
For more information, contact Amy Reineke at (320) 886-9412 or go to the Web site at www.buildingconnectionseci.org.