EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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Introduction: Intervention AND Prevention

By including support for an Early Childhood Mental Health System of Care in its next three-year plan for MHSA funding, Contra Costa County will be choosing to develop a comprehensive, long-term approach to serious mental illness that delivers significant benefit not only to young children and their families through immediate intervention, but to future consumers of all ages through effective primary prevention.

Excellent Return on Investment

Funding early childhood services offers an excellent return on investment in terms of future savings in mental healthcare, foster care, inpatient psychiatric services, criminal justice costs and other expenditures. To best help youth and adult populations down the road, we must invest now, and most urgently , in early childhood mental health.

Contra Costa County’s Strengths in Early Childhood Mental Health

Contra Costa County is well-positioned to develop an Early Childhood Mental Health System of Care. A county-wide and multi-disciplinary collaborative (the Early Childhood Prevention and Intervention Coalition; ECPIC), consisting of First 5 and other stakeholders in early childhood mental health, childcare, and education, meets monthly and will continue to bring key ideas regularly into the forefront. Among the ECPIC members are a number of early childhood mental health CBOs who have been providing services to Contra Costa County families for decades and have established knowledge and skill-base/expertise, as well as county providers and numerous early childhood agencies (in childcare, education, developmental services, etc.) who collaborate closely with the CBOs and county to meet the needs of children and families.

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