Early Childhood Services Program Description
The Early Childhood Services (ECS) program assists young children diagnosed with a severe emotional disorder to prepare for Kindergarten. Kindergarten success is an early benchmark for overall school success. Children attend one day of specialized pre-school at JYS and JYS provides behavioral health para-professional services at the child’s full time pre-school. Additional services can include:
- Individual play therapy, family therapy and group therapy
- Case Management
- Parent support
- Circles of Security
- Individual & Group Behavioral Health Supports
Services are provided at the child’s pre-school and/or at JYS’ Jordan Avenue location. We can also provide services in the child’s home when appropriate. Transportation is provided on the day(s) services are held at JYS.
Eligible children are between the ages of 3 – 5 and diagnosed with a severe emotional disorder. Juneau Youth Services provides assessment services to assist in determining if the child has a qualifying diagnosis. Parents/guardians enroll their children in this program, although anyone can refer a child. Juneau Youth Services will not provide the services without the parents’/guardians’ permission.
ECS Program Staffing
The ECS Program is staffed by one therapist and one Behavioral Health Associate. The Behavioral Health Associate reports to the therapist. The therapist reports to the Chief Clinical Officer, who reports to the Executive Director. Staff are trained in:
- First aid & CPR
- Food handler certification
- Professional role of child care workers
- Child development
- Relationship building
- Communication skills
- Teaching discipline
- Clinical diagnoses, per the DC 0-3 (a version of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for young children)
- De-escalation and crisis intervention including nationally recognized de-escalation techniques
- Clinical issues such as FASD, trauma, substance abuse, etc.
- Attachment and regulation
- Family systems
- Cultural competence
Staff are required to obtain a minimum of 15 hours of job-related training on an annual basis, and engage in weekly reflective supervision with a certified clinical supervisor.
How do Families Obtain ECS?
All referrals to JYS are sent to the Assessment Center for an evaluation by a trained clinician. These clinicians conclude the evaluation with a set of recommendations, which can include Early Childhood Services. Children who do not have a qualifying diagnosis can still receive outpatient play therapy, family therapy or group therapy.
Funding for ECS
ECS services are paid for through Medicaid and generous grants from the State of Alaska.
2021 Program Goals:
- Procedure manual
- Develop a 3-year project plan to launch an infant mental health program
- Expand staffing to add one more BHA, and increase the number of kids/families served
- Obtain base line measure of how many children served are accepted into Kindergarten