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Program puts focus on mental health for children

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Children of all ages are affected by divorce in different ways. It doesn't matter the age, every child will react differently to the news of their parents getting divorced. There is a new program in Illinois that puts the focus on the mental health of children.

The new program's goal is to help children strengthen their coping skills and it's based out of Effingham. The program, ICARE Kids, comes to town due to a two-year grant from LifeLinks in Coles County. The grant was obtained from the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation. The grant is more than $421,000. The program adds mental health services to the dental and physical services already offered.

ICARE focuses on the mental health of children between the ages of 5 and 18 who are insured by Medicaid. The program is going to expand to seven other sites by the year 2018 for patients of the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation. Right now, the program serves Effingham Health Center, Charleston Health Center, Mattoon Medical Center and Cumberland County Health Center in Greenup.

"Just as it is important to learn math, it is also important to learn to cope with strong emotions — sadness, fear, frustration," a youth and family counselor said. "We don't look at people as though something needs fixed. We like to build on what they are doing right."

The program is designed to help children deal with issues brought up by divorce, death, dealing with parents who are addicts, illness and separation.

ICARE is short for Innovative, Coordinated, Accessible, Research-based and Efficient.

Every child who enters the program is given a mental health assessment and then the clinician creates an individualized plan for the patient.

By the time 2017 comes to an end, the ICARE program will have opened in three additional locations.

An experienced divorce attorney in Crystal Lake can answer all of your questions about divorce, how to tell your children and other family law issues.

Source: EDN, "New program focuses on mental health care for children," Dawn Schabbing, June 12, 2017

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