Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) is an initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services.
Since 2008, state and tribal programs across the country have been supported by SAMHSA to promote the health and well-being of young children from birth to age 8 by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of their development.
By using a public health approach, Project LAUNCH is improving outcomes at the individual, family and community levels by focusing on 5 core prevention and promotion strategies:
· Screening and assessment
· Integration of behavioral health into primary settings
· Mental health consultation in early care and education
· Enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional wellbeing
· Family strengthening and parent skills training.
Guided by these 5 strategies, Project LAUNCH utilizes a local-level young child wellness council and a state-level young child wellness council, both consisting of key early learning and development, health, and family support stakeholders, to develop and implement plans to improve outcomes for young children and families.
The City of Manchester serves as the local implementation site for Project LAUNCH NH. Manchester is NH's most densely populated city or town, with 3,310 persons per square mile and a total population of 109,565. The city is becoming more racially diverse and is now home to over 2,085 refugees, resulting in a unique set of challenges to the community. For example, 6.25% of children in the Manchester school system have limited English proficiency and families with school age children reportedly speak over 60 languages. Given these unique circumstances, Project LAUNCH NH is using Manchester as a model to enhance provider collaboration, service coordination, and family strengthening, with the hopes of being able to replicate this public health approach in other NH communities.