WXXI AM News

Federal support for local child health initiative

Sep 3, 2019

Credit www.childrensinstitute.net

A local organization that helps strengthen children’s social and emotional health is getting a grant from the federal government.

Children’s Institute in Rochester has been awarded an $800,000 grant  for this year, and that grant is renewable for up to five years, which could eventually add up to $4 million in federal aid. The money comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The funding will be used to help integrate organizations that work with children and families in the City of Rochester to promote the wellness of kids from ages 0 - 8. The project is called the Rochester Whole Child Health Initiative: A Cross-Sector Collaboration to Help Kids Thrive.

Lynn Lubecki  is a principal investigator for the project. She says it’s important to be able to deal with behavioral health concerns in children in what really are their formative years.

“Their physical health is impacted, their brain growth and their ability to attach with others and their social skills; the ability to relate to other people, their emotional ability to self-regulate, and their cognitive abilities,” Lubecki noted.

Among the activities the grant money will fund is helping conduct screenings and assessments of children and providing early childhood education.

Lubecki notes that Rochester ranks number-one in child poverty compared to similar size cities which adds to the challenges that some children have. And she says there is  a  shortage of providers who have the training and expertise needed to work with young children who have mental and behavioral health problems. That is an issue the Children's Institute hopes this new federal grant can help address.