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State Aims to Improve Early Childhood Mental Health Services

An Ohio initiative is seeking to boost access mental health consultants in an effort to curb the number of children expelled or suspended from kindergarten, preschool and other early childhood education settings.

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The state's Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services says 75 counties are expected to benefit from $9.1 million set aside in the state's two-year budget to help fund the initiative. Up to 64 mental health consultants will work with teachers and at-risk students in early learning programs such as Head Start and preschool.

The initiative also creates a way for families or preschools to call counselors to help intervene with children at risk of expulsion.

State officials say the goal is to address any mental health issues early to give children a better chance at success.

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