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Local Medina County News

Partners to serve kids' mental health

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MEDINA — The Medina County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board is partnering with Child Guidance & Family Solutions to provide early childhood mental health services in the county.

Executive Director Philip Titterington said the board received a $25,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the partnership.

He said a one-year agreement with the Akron-based agency was approved by the ADAMH board at its August meeting.

"We are very pleased with this new partnership and the ability to provide these much-needed services for our Medina County preschoolers," Titterington said. "Child Guidance & Family Solutions has an excellent track record of providing effective services. The Medina County ADAMH board continues to be committed to ensuring that quality programs and services are available for residents of all ages."

Established in 1939, Child Guidance & Family Solutions is a medical specialty practice that provides mental and behavioral health care for children, adolescents and their families.

"We are thrilled to be able to expand services to these young children," Child Guidance early childhood program manager Barbara Werstler said in a statement. "They are the most vulnerable; this is the most critical point in their lives. They are our future and this is the time and the opportunity to provide them the foundation for success in school and in their adult lives."

Child Guidance & Family Solutions' early childhood mental health staff will provide on-site consultation, provide recommendations for classroom strategies and offer additional resources to all county centers, including educators and parents/caregivers, with the primary goal of preventing preschool expulsion.

Its staff began providing preschool social/emotional training and preschool expulsion interventions in 2008 and has been serving Medina County since 2013 at the following centers:

  • South Medina KinderCare, 190 Northland Drive;
  • KinderCare, 135 Smokerise Drive, Wadsworth;
  • The Nurtury Preschool, 250 N. Spring Grove St., Medina;
  • Creative Early Learning Center Child Care and Preschool, 5020 Victor Drive, Medina Township.

"We're looking to expand their services to any of the preschools or child care centers that need their assistance," Titterington said, noting that in-home care also is available.

Titterington said the service is available to county early learning centers, family-based providers and parents by calling the Ohio Preschool Expulsion Prevention Partnership at (844) 678-2227.

Staff will link individuals with an early childhood consultant who will complete an on-site consultation within two business days.

Titterington said this partnership will complement other youth services provided by its Medina-based partner, Alternative Paths, which provides outpatient behavioral heath care services.

In May, Alternative Paths contracted with Dr. Victoria DeLong, of Akron, to provide child psychiatric services in Medina. The agency opened a home-based treatment program in July in which counselors visit a patient's home up to three times a week for work with a child and family members.

"We can transition youth to Alternative Paths if they continue to present severe needs," Titterington said. "Alternative Paths can also serve this population in crisis situations."

The ADAMH board said it and its partners - including Alternative Paths and Catholic Charities - served nearly 20,000 patients in fiscal year 2016.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.

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