New Funding Will Address Children’s Mental Health Needs in Clay County
Partnership with Clay County child care providers will support early childhood mental health.
Kansas City, Missouri — It’s a common belief that infants and toddlers are too young to suffer the psychological consequences of the adversities occurring around them. Spending time in a classroom with young children who have been introduced to adversities like violence, abuse and neglect would prove otherwise.
“Every tragedy has repercussions that stretch far and wide. The resulting trauma can have an especially devastating impact on young children who are still learning to manage emotions and cope, and often don’t have the vocabulary or ability to communicate what they are feeling.” commented The Family Conservancy President and CEO Dean Olson.
Unfortunately, the early education programs that are tasked with helping children build resilience and skills to overcome psychological traumas, are often ill-equipped. As a result, in Missouri, one out of every 10 preschool-aged children has been expelled from a child care program.
With support from the Clay County Children’s Service Fund, The Family Conservancy (TFC) will partner with child care programs to support social-emotional learning and help children overcome traumatic experiences.
The funding, representing the first round of community-based grants from a Clay County sales tax established in 2017, will allow TFC to launch a partnership with child care providers in Clay County. TFC will train teachers and parents to help young children establish a strong social-emotional foundation.
The project will focus on mitigating the effects of trauma through the development of meaningful relationships with families and caregivers. Additionally, outpatient counseling will be available on-site at child care programs.
The projects largest partner is the North Kansas City School District, where 100 preschool teachers will learn how traumatic events impact and impede child development, and to develop trauma-informed approaches to build resilience for children in their classrooms.
“Far too many children in our community experience situations that impede their social-emotional learning and test their skills for managing stressful situations. We are very excited about this partnership which will create a system of care that supports the social-emotional development of young children.” commented Olson.
About Clay County Children’s Service Fund
The Clay County Children’s Services Fund was created in 2017 following voter approval of a designated one-quarter of a cent sales tax pursuant to RSMo 67.1775 and RSMo 210.861. A 9-member board of directors appointed by the Clay County Commission administers the Fund and its operations. The Clay County Children’s Services Fund will make funds available to organizations offering services that protect the well-being and safety of Clay County children and youth nineteen years of age or younger and to strengthen their families.