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New York Launches Initiative for Children's Emotional Health

November 15, 2007

Albany, NY - There's good news for New York families concerned about the emotional health of their children. The state has launched a new program to screen kids at about 100 locations where kids gather every day. The program, called "Child and Family Clinic Plus," provides early intervention and treatment to improve school performance, social relationships, and prevent long-term mental health problems. David Woodlock, with the New York Office of Mental Health, is excited about it.

"This is an opportunity to help intervene in a lot of youngsters' emotional challenges long before they've started failing in school or generating so much family stress."

Paige Pierce with Families Together in New York State welcomes the family-friendly approach to diagnosing and treating such childhood problems as anxiety, attention deficit, bipolar disorders, and other early emotional challenges, which she says are just as important as physical health.

"We'd like to see emotional wellness being screened, the same as we have screenings for hearing and for vision, to identify any problem areas so that we can address them early on."

Pierce, who is the mother of a child aided by early intervention, feels the easy accessibility of the new Clinics Plus program will save families a lot of stress and expense later in life.

"It can really snowball into needing services that are more intensive, more expensive and more draining on the family, the child and the system. We want to prevent that wherever possible."

New York is providing $33 million for 100 clinic providers, with dozens more sites at schools, kindergartens, pediatric clinics, and community centers throughout the state.

Robert Knight/John Robinson, Public News Service - NY