Nearly $1 Million State Grant Targets Childhood Mental and Behavioral Health

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Reducing the suspension and expulsion rate of children in early education and care programs in Haverhill, Methuen and other area communities are among the aims of a nearly $1 million state grant to address behavioral health.

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was formally awarded a Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Grant of $953,221 Wednesday. The nonprofit was one of six sharing in $4.1 million statewide to train providers and improve programs that promote the developmental, social-emotional and behavioral well-being of infants and young children in their care.

“We have a mental health crisis that has only been made worse by the pandemic, particularly for our youngest kids,” said Gov. Maura Healey. “Our administration is continuing to help break down the stigma behind seeking treatment while ensuring that Massachusetts residents know how they can access the health care and support they deserve—no matter how small. These grants will provide early education and care programs with the tools and resources needed to help educators identify kids struggling and support families in accessing help.”

Other communities served by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children include Groveland, Lawrence, Merrimac, North Andover and West Newbury.

The state said grants will also help early education and care programs build stronger relationships with families to support children both in the classroom and their homes, including with individualized behavior support plans for children and referrals to other community-based services.

Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler said, “The path to well-being and stability is a slow one, but with this funding we will make inroads in our pursuit to improve mental health for all of our students.”

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