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Grant Awards Support Expansion of Early Child Mental Health Services

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—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), today announced 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,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “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,” said DODD Director Jeff Davis. “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,” said OhioMHAS Director Lori Criss. “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:





Alta Care


SUTQ Expansion




SUTQ Expansion


Catalyst Life Services


SUTQ Expansion


Catholic Charities SWO


Early Intervention


Child Focus


Early Intervention


Children’s Resource Center


Early Intervention


Greene ESC


Pediatric Expansion


Harbor Behavioral Health


SUTQ Expansion


Hopewell Behavioral Health


Early Intervention


Mercy Health St. Vincent’s


Pediatric Expansion


Nationwide Children’s Hospital


Pediatric Expansion


Ohio Guidestone


Early Intervention


* Meek, S.E., and W.S. Gilliam. 2016. Expulsion and Sus­pension as Matters of Social Justice and Health Equity. Discussion Paper, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. https://nam.edu/wp-content/up­loads/2016/10/Expulsion-and-Suspension-in-Early- Education-as-Matters-of-Social-Justice-and-Health- Equity.pdf.

** Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is a five-star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. SUTQ recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet quality program standards that exceed licensing health and safety regulations. The program standards are based on national research identifying standards which lead to improved outcomes for children.