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Whole Child Check-Up Initiative

Whole Child Check-Up Initiative

What is the Whole Child Check Up Initiative?

The Whole Child Check Up Initiative (WCCU) is an innovative project funded through an Early Recognition Grant from the New York State Department of Mental Health. The WCCU encourages the integration of mental wellness screenings within primary care visits for children and adolescents.

The goal of the project is to identify mental health challenges in a timely manner and to connect families with community mental health resources that are culturally relevant to their unique situations. To that end, the WCCU is reaching out to physician's offices and collaborating with the mutual understanding that emotionally healthy kids are more likely to be physically healthy kids!

Within the Whole Child Check Up Initiative, screenings take place during routine well visits through the completion of a simple checklist called the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC). The PSC was chosen after researching and piloting a variety of screening tools and through consultation with other early recognition initiatives across New York State. Parents of children ages 6-10 will complete the form for their children, while older children, ages 11 -18 will complete it on their own, with or without their parents help. If the results indicate that additional care may be helpful, families will either be given referral information by their primary care provider or will be encouraged to talk with staff from the Solutions for Youth and Families Warm Line to discern what best next steps to take to support the well being of their child and family. Engaging written materials have been created about the initiative which will both de-stigmatize mental health issues and increase public awareness about the importance of emotional wellness.

The following quote by Karen Winter Schwartz, author of “Where are the Cocoa Puffs”, the story of one family’s journey through the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder, illustrates the underlying premise of the Whole Child Check Up Initiative very well...
"Entrance into the mental healthcare system should not depend on the occurrence of a full psychotic break, arrest or hospitalization. We are doing our youth and their families a grave injustice by making this process so very difficult. The Whole Child Check Up Initiative is a great first step in remedying this injustice.
For more information about the WCCU please call Sally Manning at 607-793-1658 or Jaydn McCune at 607-227-4391.
Karen Winters Schwartz 
Karen Winters Schwartz
Book: Reis's Pieces Book: Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?