Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) is a child wellness promotion grant program of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In Missouri, Project LAUNCH is a collaborative effort led by the Department of Mental Health, in partnership with the Department of Health and Senior Services. The project’s purpose is to create a coordinated system that addresses the needs of children ages 0–8 and allows them to thrive in safe, supportive environments and enter school with the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills they need to succeed.
Through education and awareness efforts, Missouri Project LAUNCH is charged with connecting and strengthening the supports for parents, pediatricians, educators, social service agencies and child care providers so that children ages 0–8 can thrive in safe, supportive environments and enter school with the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills they need to succeed. Guided by an evaluation conducted by the Missouri Institute of Mental Health at University of Missouri St. Louis; and state and local councils; grant outcomes will inspire practice and policy changes toward a more integrated and sustainable early childhood service system throughout Missouri.
To ensure that Missouri’s early childhood programs and services are comprehensive, coordinated, accessible, adequately funded and of the highest quality to meet the needs and to promote the well-being of all young children and their families. This can be accomplished by (a) developing key partnerships, (b) building collaborative strategies and (c) ensuring equal access to necessary resources, resulting in the implementation of an effective and sustainable early childhood system.
All young children in Missouri are safe, healthy and capable of reaching their full potential.
Five Areas of Focus
Project LAUNCH grantees implement five core prevention and promotion strategies:
- Screening and assessment in a variety of child-serving settings,
- Enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional well-being,
- Mental health consultation in early care and education programs,
- Family strengthening and parent skills training, and
- Integration of behavioral health into primary care settings.
Community Cafe Tackles Issues Affecting Families
Project LAUNCH has begun the Community Cafe program which brings together community members to develop solutions to issues impacting children and families. At the Feb. 18 kickoff for the LAUNCH area (63106 and 63107), improving transportation was identified as a key need. On April 28, more than 50 community members attended the first Community Cafe in the transportation series. Joining them were representatives of Metro, the St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and the St. Louis Mayor’s Office. Additional sessions were held on May 26 and July 28.
Parents come together to build a support network around the Strengthening Families principles through the Parent Cafes. See flyers on the current Cafes under way:
“Mom, You Can Make It” (Temple Church of Christ)
“Show Me Daddy” (Temple Church of Christ)
“The Joy of Play Series” (LUME Institute, Flance Early Learning Center)
Project LAUNCH St. Louis
Project LAUNCH in St. Louis serves the 63106 and 63107 ZIP codes in north St. Louis. Vision for Children at Risk contracts with the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Health and Senior Services to handle Project LAUNCH operations in St. Louis.
For more information, contact Sanaria Sulaiman, Project LAUNCH St. Louis Coordinator, 314-534-6015, firstname.lastname@example.org.