Dept. of Public Welfare Receives $4 Million Grant for Children’s Health Program

HARRISBURG – The Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services was awarded a $4 million grant for Project LAUNCH (Linking Action for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health), an integrated plan to promote the wellness of young children, ages birth to 8.

The grant, which will award $800,000 annually for 5 years, will enablePennsylvania to create and implement a plan to address physical, cognitive, social, emotional and behavioral aspects of children’s development in a holistic and coordinated manner. The Pennsylvania LAUNCH Partnership will help parents to raise healthy, happy children who thrive and enter school ready to learn and succeed.

“Project LAUNCH will help so many Pennsylvania families,” DPW SecretaryBeverly Mackereth said. “It will use early detection and early intervention techniques to prevent escalations and, in some cases, prevent the onset of mental health problems. We are honored to receive this grant and excited about the opportunities it will offer.”

The project will serve pregnant mothers; children ages birth to 8, who are at-risk for social, emotional and other mental health concerns; and their families. The project will serve 2,000 individuals annually and 10,250 people throughout the 5 years, through screening and referral to evidence-based interventions.

The Pennsylvania LAUNCH Partnership will bring together proven approaches for supporting health and mental health development in an integrated strategy that will be tested in Allegheny County as a model for other Pennsylvania communities. Families, pediatricians, child care providers, treatment professionals and educators will work together.

The goals for the PA LAUNCH Partnership are:

  • Ensuring young children at risk for poor social/emotional or cognitive outcomes are screened and provided services;
  • Integrating physical and behavioral health services;
  • Providing early childhood mental health consultation in early care and education settings;
  • Providing enhanced home visiting; and
  • Family strengthening and parent skill building.

The Allegheny County and state councils will facilitate implementation of Project LAUNCH and will use data and research to assess the quality of implementation.

The grant is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation.

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