MONROE, LA – Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) and Prime Time Head Start have agreed to coordinate behavioral healthcare services, parenting and family engagement classes and presentations, and mutual sharing of program events for clients and staff. This agreement allows NEDHSA access to more than 500 3-and-4-year-olds and their families through full-day, school year service across four centers located in high-needs communities.
NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said this agreement helps expand the agency’s child and adult initiatives that will “ultimately improve individuals, families, institutions, and communities.” “We are creating ecosystems to help reduce and prevent the early onset of mental illness, drug addiction, violence, suicide, teen pregnancy, school expulsion, to name a few.” Dr. Sizer said. “We are doing this because we know these things are highly correlated with adult and generational poverty, mental illness, primary health care challenges, homelessness, high unemployment, and early death.”
Prime Time focuses on positive child and family outcomes to close the achievement gap and build a better future for Ouachita Parish children and families. Since 2016, Prime Time has administered the Head Start Program in Ouachita Parish. Its approach emphasizes data-driven decision-making at all levels and has a proven early childhood education approach featuring comprehensive teacher training, coaching, assessment, family engagement, and community partnerships. Additionally, Prime Time integrates inquiry-based teaching and learning strategies.
Louisiana Endowment Division for the Humanities (LEH) Vice-President of Head Start Services Stalanda Butcher said, “in addition to teaching our students skills that will help them as they move into kindergarten and beyond, Prime Time Head Start offers comprehensive services that benefit the entire family.”
“Our partnership with the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority will allow us to offer important mental health and other services that will help strengthen families for the children in our program,” Butcher said.
One of NEDHSA’s missions is to make behavioral and primary healthcare accessible to the 12-parish region by offsetting the unique challenges of the people it serves. Utilizing evidence-based practices, NEDHSA developed its Integrated Care model, an innovative approach to bridging the gap in its clients’ needs by offering a holistic approach to treatment. NEDHSA Integrated Care addresses behavioral health, primary health, and social determinants of health.
NEDHSA’s early childhood and adolescent prevention program serves more than 1200 children with Al’s PalsKids Making Healthy Choices, equating to 55 classrooms servicing Ouachita’s Monroe City Schools, Madison, Jackson, Bienville, East Carroll, and Richland parishes. The program includes 20 Pinebelt, and Delta Community Action Head Starts in the 12-parish region. NEDHSA serves 300 adolescents in Madison Parish through its Signs of Suicide Prevention Program. NEDHSA’s Student Ambassador program has nearly 70 students throughout Neville High, Franklin High, and Madison Parish High School as part of its high school prevention services.
NEDHSA directs and manages community-based programs to improve the quality of life of people with major mental illnesses, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities by offering integrated primary and behavioral health services and a Phoenix Clinic for individuals who have a developmental disability and mental health disorder.
Additionally, NEDHSA manages prevention and wellness services aimed at reducing and curtailing the incidence of drug and alcohol abuse by youth through coalition-building and community mobilization; building resiliency through social-emotional and parenting programs for early childhood settings; identifying at-risk youth through suicide screening and education; increasing knowledge and changing negative attitudes and behaviors through evidenced-based school and community prevention programs and activities; providing grief counseling services to families and individuals who have suffered a loss due to addiction; offering opioid prevention and education outreach and services through harm reduction methods such as Narcan distribution and other safe disposal alternatives; and, working with community partners and stakeholders who are committed to transforming our regions.
Dr. Sizer said NEDHSA’s early childhood and adolescent programs are in place to decrease the chances of “negative social determinants and adverse health outcomes following the children into adulthood.”
“These programs can help reduce trauma, increase literacy, build resiliency, lessen truancy, increase prosocial behavior, and ultimately graduation rates,” Dr. Sizer said. “And even more so, create more productive citizens who are able to work, pay taxes, raise families, and engage in meaningful relationships with their neighbors.”