The Riverside County Department of Mental Health Children Services’ Preschool 0-5 Programs, Prevention and Early Intervention Mobile Service delivery has been selected as a “Bright Idea” in the Harvard Innovations in American Government Award Program.
The Bright Ideas Initiative shines a light on noteworthy and promising government programs and practices so that government leaders, public servants, and other individuals can learn about these ideas and adopt initiatives that work. As a Bright Idea, programs receive a seal of designation, are highlighted on the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center’s Government Innovator’s Network and are considered for an award in the future.
The Riverside County program includes parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT), where parents learn how to manage behavior challenges. Clinical research shows that behavioral and social emotional issues addressed at an early age are less likely to develop into serious mental health problems as children grow older. Three mobile treatment clinics provide therapeutic interventions to children and families in targeted communities across Riverside County. Such therapy is also practiced in the department’s First 5 Riverside-funded program.
“We want to take the opportunity to announce and acknowledge the contribution of First 5 Riverside to the recent Bright Ideas designation,” said Mental Health Services Supervisor Anna Loza, MSW, LCSW.
Although the mobile services are a Mental Health Services Act, Prevention and Early Intervention project, Loza says First 5 Riverside provided the initial seed money for PCIT, which helped to establish this evidence-based practice within the county, which has only grown since then. Mobile services alongside other First 5 Riverside funded projects make a significant contribution to instilling within our communities opportunity for education and awareness about effective mental health services, she added.
“Expanding access for many families that would not otherwise be aware of nor benefit from prevention, early intervention and treatment services is essential if important resources for children during the critical period of early childhood development are to be readily available to families.”
The Riverside County Department of Mental Health is one of two grantees providing services under the First 5 Riverside Growing Healthy Minds initiative. This initiative’s goal is to promote social competence by preventing and treating disruptive behavior disorders. It is designed to support a full continuum of primary prevention, screening/early identification and early intervention, and treatment interventions, targeting one or more high risk communities with the goal of significantly increasing early childhood social competence and decreasing the development of disruptive behavior disorders. Family Service Association also provides services.