A federal grant of $4.2 million has been awarded to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, which will spend the money on kids in north St. Louis.
The money will be used for a variety of mental health services, including screenings and assessments for children, as well as home visitations to teach skills to parents.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said north St. Louis was chosen for a reason.
“It has a high concentration of children and has a very low academic performance level," Slay said. "High crime and high poverty in these areas. We’re concentrating the money on where there’s the most need.”
The program focuses on kids up to 8 years old. It's part of a federal initiative called Project LAUNCH, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The project is aiming to integrate behavioral health into primary care.
The money will be spent in two ZIP codes: 63106 and 63107. The map below is roughly what that encompasses.
Slay said this program will hopefully help the struggling area.
“This is going to help with all those things," Slay said. "It’ll make kids better prepared for school when they get there. It’ll also make sure that you have the infrastructure in place to have some personal time with these kids to know what challenges are and what we as a community can do to help them with those.”
The project will be overseen by a council chaired by Sue Stepleton of the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University.
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel
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