Cleveland State University, in conjunction with Berea Childrenís Home and Family Services, has established a certification program in Early Childhood Mental Health. The purpose of this 16-credit hour program is to prepare graduate students and professionals from a variety of disciplines to work with young children, their parents and caregivers to promote healthy development of young children who are at-risk for mental health problems.
Early Childhood Mental Health services are designed to strengthen the optimal development of children ages 0-3 years. Young children and families served include those with medical problems, identified disabilities or developmental delays, as well as parents who can be considered at social or emotional risk in the care-giving role. The services rely on strategies such as emotional support, developmental guidance, advocacy and therapy. The intent of these services is to offer relationship-focused support to reduce the risk of developmental dysfunction and delay, and to enhance the emotional well-being of children and families.
The certification program is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio and is significant because it represents a commitment to ongoing education in a field that is still relatively new. Techniques and interventions used in Early Childhood Mental Health services are very different than typical mental health interventions and techniques and, as a result, require the development of a different skill set. The growth and success of this field benefit from increased expertise and specialization of these services. Additionally, pioneering a new program of this sort further adds to the positive reputation of the well-established medical and health expertise in Northeast Ohio.
After detecting strong interest in such a program from both the State of Ohio and the Cuyahoga County Board or Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (CCBMRDD), Berea Childrenís Home and Family Services took the lead in initiating the inception of the certificate. Elliott Ingersoll, Ph.D., Cleveland State University Professor shephearded the process thorugh the University to help establish the program.
Classes are offered primarily online with varying levels of face-to-face contact, scheduled with the adult learner and the distance learner in mind. Graduates of the certificate program will have the training to provide Early Child Mental Health consultation services or Early Childhood Mental Health counseling services in a variety of settings. The program is ideal for:
The program leads to an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Certificate. The certificate is open to persons with a bachelorís degree in a related field with at least one year of related work with young children, as well as persons with a masterís degree in a field leading to licensure as a mental health professional and experience working with young children. The Certificate is also open to students who are concurrently working on a graduate degree in counseling, social work or psychology.
The curriculum involves five courses:
The first group of students enrolled in the certification program began in August; plans for a new group to begin in January are in place. The program has a maximum capacity of 25 students.
For additional information, call Elliott Ingersoll, Professor of Counseling, Administration, Supervision, and Adult Learning (CASAL) in the College of Education and Human Services at Cleveland State University at 216.687.5291.
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