JUNEAU -- The Tlingit and Haida Central Council Head Start program recently received more than $300,000 from two grants to address mental health service needs for infants and young children in Southeast.
The grants include $250,000 from the federal government, through the Department of Health and Human Services, and $65,000 from the Crossett Foundation.
The money will be used for the "Encircled in a Blanket of Wellness" project, which has several goals, said Leilani Knight, the Tlingit and Haida Head Start family and community partnerships coordinator.
Knight said some funds will go toward early childhood mental health training for parents, Head Start staff and mental health providers across Southeast.
The project also plans to bring together a variety of agencies to discuss a unified approach to early childhood mental health needs. Knight said there are many separate agencies working on the issue in different ways.
The project will last 18 months. At its conclusion, Knight said, a strategic plan for changes to existing services will be created and distributed to state agencies, social service organizations, parents, educators and others.
"This is only the beginning of a longer, lasting challenge to have all systems come to the table," Knight said.