Press Release - May 2, 2011

Contact:  Kelly Bachman
302-633-2501 or 302-299-9791

Prevention & Behavioral Health Forum Stresses Value of Partnerships, Personal Responsibility

Two-day conference will feature workshops, awards luncheon and youth, family engagement opportunities

WILMINGTON – Working Together for Healthy Communities serves as the theme for Delaware’s Prevention & Behavioral Health Forum, being held today, Monday, May 2, and tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3. This two-day forum, hosted by the Delaware Children’s Department and taking place at the Dover Sheraton, is part of the Department’s week-long effort to raise awareness of the importance of addressing the mental and behavioral health needs of our children during May is Mental Health Month. Over 500 people have registered to attend.

“Mental Health Month serves an opportunity to underscore the importance of keeping ourselves and our children healthy – inside and out,” said Governor Jack Markell. “With the right support from families, providers and the community, children and youth can gain resilience and grow up stronger.”

Keynote speakers for forum include Frances M. Harding, director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; and Dr. Richard P. Keeling, principal and senior executive consultant for Keeling & Associates. Harding, a nationally recognized leader in the field of substance abuse, will discuss the intersection between prevention, early intervention and treatment. Keeling, a physician and renowned expert in health and education, will discuss the philosophy, development and application of the learning-health model, which seeks to explain and address health-related variables that affect children’s readiness to learn in kindergarten through high school.

“This forum provides an opportunity to learn and share evidence-based practices, strategies, policies and information about successful prevention programs and services so we can reach children and families earlier and serve them more effectively,” said Vivian Rapposelli, cabinet secretary of the Children’s Department. “By bringing together local professionals with varying specialties and giving them the opportunity to talk with experts in the fields of prevention and behavioral health, we are continuing to strengthen our delivery of service.”

In addition to the daytime forum, an evening event is planned for tonight, which will focus on engaging youth and families and encouraging youth leadership and development.

 “Our children are our future – our responsibility,” said Rapposelli. “It is important we engage them and their families so we can gain valuable insight as to how to better support them in their development. This evening’s event is an opportunity to celebrate them – their voice, their spirit – and let these young men and women know they matter.”

The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, and/or have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts. Through the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services, the Department reaches out to children, youth and their families to eliminate the need for state intervention and to facilitate transitions of children in care back to the community.

Our Mission: To assist children, youth and families in making positive changes through services that support child and public safety, behavioral health and individual, family and community well-being.

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