News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
Visit us at www.nwhealth.org


Health Department awarded grant for Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative
Community Foundation award supports Parent Support Partner program


(November 4, 2011) The Health Department of Northwest Michigan has received a $5,000 grant from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation to support the launch of a new "Parent Support Partner" program for families with young children who are experiencing all kinds of behavior issues. The Parent Support Partner program is one facet of a comprehensive approach to improving access to behavioral health services for young children in Charlevoix, Emmet, and northern Antrim counties.

"We are just delighted to receive the support of the local community foundation. We are excited to launch this new program, and to be able to support local parents and to help them access resources for their children," said Natalie Kasiborski, coordinator of the Health Department's Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative. "Katie Harris, the Parent Support Partner--a peer parent herself--is now available for families from Charlevoix, Emmet, and northern Antrim counties. There is no charge for the program," she said.

The Parent Support Program is aimed at parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5 with a behavioral health concern. "We estimate approximately 12% of children through age 5 experiences a social or emotional issue that impacts learning, overall functioning, development, and school-readiness, said Kasiborski. In Charlevoix, Emmet, and northern Antrim counties, that translates to nearly 340 young children.

"We know there are a lot of families who are concerned about their children's social or emotional development. We're here to help and support them to cope with temper tantrums to concerns about emerging mental illness and everything in between," she said. "Early intervention is key to school success."

"The community has really come together to support the Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative," said Kasiborski. "We're working closely with Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, Great Start, and North Country Community Mental Health Services to improve local access to behavioral health services."

The Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative is supported with grants from the Frey Foundation, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, and United Way of Charlevoix & Emmet Counties.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For more information about the Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative or the Parent Support Program, contact Kasiborski at 231-347-5144.


Sara Ward, Program Officer for the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation (center) with Natalie Kasiborski, Coordinator of the Early Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative (left) and Katie Harris, Parent Support Partner (right).
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