CDHS Budget Request: Expanding Early Childhood Mental Health Specialists Using Federal Funds
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) submitted a Supplemental Budget Request to expand the statewide Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist program. The request doubles the number of Early Childhood Mental Health Specialists working in Colorado from 17 to 34, using federal funding for the expansion of the program.
The Children’s Campaign strongly supports the CDHS budget request. Colorado currently has only 17 Early Childhood Mental Health Specialists to support more than 400,000 children under the age of six who live in our state. As a result, existing specialists can only respond to a fraction of the referrals they receive. Parents and providers often find that they do not have the tools to respond to challenging behavior. This frequently leaves educators choosing to suspend or expel children from early care and learning settings. Early Childhood Mental Health Specialists can support parents and educators in implementing prevention-oriented strategies.
Passed out of the Joint Budget Committee on a unanimous 6-0 vote and will be introduced in the House next month.