Early Child Mental Health System of Care Planning Project brings together the state’s three largest cities (Boston, Worcester, and Springfield) and several state agencies to: (a) develop strategic plans to improve local services for children ages 0-9 with serious emotional disturbances and their families, and (b) demonstrate the value of a planning model that is locally focused but also involves state agencies. The grant also seeks to demonstrate the value of a planning model that is not only locally focused but also involves state agencies.
Worcester has set up a team of professionals from the Pernet Family Center, Head Start, Worcester Public Schools, Youth Opportunities Upheld, Community Health Link, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Department of Children and Families, and two Worcester parents to complete a mental health needs assessment for Worcester children ages 0-9. The Worcester Team has been meeting monthly (starting October 2014) to go over what the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps are in the Worcester community specifically to develop a mechanism for enhancing collaboration among health care providers and other service providers regarding mental health services. The data from the needs assessment was presented to the teams from Boston and Springfield as well as State stakeholders in hopes of expanding training for healthcare providers. The assessment will be used to help draft a grant proposal in hopes of obtaining a four year implementation grant improving mental health needs for at risk populations for Worcester, Boston, and Springfield.