Hello, my name is Elizabeth Smith, and I’m very excited to be part of the Mental Health Services team here at Greene ESC as the Family Engagement Consultant. I have over 20 years of experience working in the early childhood field; and a background in social work and conflict resolution. I have served as a Family Advocate for Head Start families, as well as an ECMH consultant with Head Start and various local early learning providers. I have most recently worked as a Child Advocate and Social Emotional Development coach in local and multi-county early learning environments.
I will be providing consultative services for families in early learning centers using the Triple P- Positive Parenting Program. This program is supported and funded by the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund Western Ohio Regional Prevention Council that consists of 13 counties. This is part of the statewide effort to improve social and emotional readiness for learning by addressing the mental health and wellbeing of children and their caregivers in the early years. As part of a team effort, I will be providing free on site parenting programs for families, as well as staff development. As early childcare professionals we share a commitment to providing children with a safe and healthy start to life and working together we can face the challenges. I am dedicated to providing support and encouragement to families as they strengthen their understanding of the importance of family involvement as their child’s first teacher, and in their child’s early development and education.
Healthy social and emotional development plays a key role in a child’s ability to enter kindergarten ready to learn. In order to succeed, a child needs to function within group settings, interact positively with peers and adults, control impulses, exhibit self-confidence and be willing to take risks in learning new and often challenging tasks.
Expulsion rates in early learning environments have skyrocketed at alarming rates in recent years. Quoting State Senator Peggy Lehner’s recent comments in the Nov. 15th 2017 Dayton Daily News, “36,000 Ohio students in grades K-4 were expelled from school last year.” This is the most important reason why it is imperative to provide information and training where it will have the most impact, to parents and caregivers of our youngest children.
Greene County ESC’s Early Childhood Mental Health services represent a localized expansion of the program Ohio implemented in 2000. The objectives are to build protective factors in young children, increase skills of parents, and promote the competencies of early childhood providers, especially for children ages birth to six years who are at risk for abuse, neglect and poor social and emotional health. Our services target the healthy social and emotional development of all young children in Ohio to ensure they thrive and are ready for school by collaborating with early childhood providers to help them address challenging child behaviors. Services are tailored to meet the family’s needs, and can include on-site child and family focused technical assistance to parents, early childhood educators and staff; and resources for parents.
I look forward to supporting this important mission.
Elizabeth Smith, MA