A five-year, $4 million grant has been awarded to help integrate Rochester area organizations that work with children and families to promote the wellness of young children.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health Grant Program will assist the Rochester Whole Child Health Initiative: A Cross-Sector Collaboration to Help Kids Thrive. The funding will help Children’s Institute and its Rochester Whole Child Health Initiative partners to work together to conduct screenings and assessments to identify behavioral and developmental concerns, as well as provide training and consultation services to area health, early care and education professionals and parents, among other things.
“This grant focuses on improving the lives of children in Rochester,” Children’s Institute Executive Director Ann Marie White said in a statement. “We join with families in ensuring children have the foundation for strong social and emotional growth from the start. Together with partner agencies, we will work to close some service gaps to make comprehensive preventative care for children more possible in our community.”
Noting that Rochester ranks first in child poverty for mid-sized cities and is the fifth poorest city among the top 75 cities nationwide, officials said there are significant gaps in children’s behavioral health services to address the trauma-related issues that nearly three-quarters of Rochester area youth report having experienced.
“Our children deserve every opportunity to succeed, and this grant will play a critical role in helping to put our young people on the path to success,” U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle said. “Children’s Institute is already doing incredible work in supporting children’s social and emotional development and I am excited that their leadership has been recognized by SAMHSA through this award. I look forward to continuing our partnership as we work to support children in need and help Monroe County families thrive.”
The goal of the grant is to integrate education, behavioral, mental health and medical systems by using innovative approaches that have been vetted and proven effective. Rochester Whole Child Health Initiative partners include Children’s Institute, Common Ground Health, Mt. Hope Family Center, Society for the Protection and Care of Children, Golisano Children’s Hospital Department of Pediatrics at University of Rochester Medical Center, URMC Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness and URMC Women’s Health Practice.