The Orange County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved funding for training of educators to address mental health issues with young children.

The board approved spending of just under $2 million through June 30, 2022, to hire Charitable Ventures Orange County to provide early childhood mental health consultation services. Charitable Ventures was the only agency to respond to a request for proposals.

The services provided by the organization will help early childhood educators in the county to promote social and emotional development and support children with issues.

“Early diagnosis and treatment is really critical for our kids,” Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said.

Last year, when an annual report was issued by the county on the conditions of children, Bartlett said, “I was stunned at the high level of pediatric mental health issues. Unfortunately, when not treated we end up with very unfortunate situations like suicide.”

Bartlett said last year’s report showed, “We had, I believe, seven suicides between January and February, and that exceeded the total number of suicides for the previous year. We need to turn those statistics around and make sure we do everything possible to nip it in the bud at an early age.”

Bartlett said investing in early childhood mental health will save money in the long run.

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