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A New Grant Creates the Opportunity for a Team-Based Approach

 Montgomery, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) has received a five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for Promoting Positive Early Experiences and Relationships in Alabama: A Team-Based Approach (PPEER). Through a partnership between ADMH and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE), PPEER will create a cohesive and sustainable infrastructure that results in improved mental health outcomes for children birth-12 years and their families who are at risk of being or are already in protective custody with the Alabama Department of Human Services (ADHR).

PPEER will include a full continuum of promotion, prevention, and intervention through comprehensive wraparound services that are evidence-based and trauma-informed. These services will be provided by a Children’s Mental Health Team (CMHT) working with county ADHR staff and family court teams, in a coordinated effort to prevent child maltreatment and neglect; reduce the chances of the child being diagnosed with a mental illness, including severe emotional disturbance; and to help to keep families together. The project will initially occur in three pilot counties: Jackson, Jefferson, and Mobile; and expand to other counties in years three to five.

The Children’s Mental Health Team (CMHT) will include an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Consultant and at least one mental health clinician trained in IECMH. For school-aged children, a school mental health service coordinator and a school-based mental health therapist will also serve on the team. The CMHT will coordinate integrated services leading to positive outcomes for infants, young children, and their families to alleviate, remediate, and decrease mental health challenges that may interfere with healthy childhood development and parent/caregiving relationships.

For more information on the grant and initiative, please contact the Office of Infant and Early Childhood Special Programs.

Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Children Age Birth to 12 and Their Families