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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release: _____, 2006
Contact: __________
_____ County Health Department
(Phone)

Professionals, Parents and Children Benefit From Child Guidance Services -- 50th Anniversary Observed

All families can benefit from the programs and services that Child Guidance Services offers at _____ County Health Department, according to ______, ______ County Health Department Administrative Director.

The first Child Guidance Centers in Oklahoma officially opened in Muskogee and Pittsburg counties in October 1956. They were staffed primarily by psychological clinicians who provided diagnostic and mental health treatment services. The program expanded in the 1960s and 1970s to emphasize diagnosis and treatment of mental retardation, learning disabilities, and speech and language disorders. In the 1970s more emphasis was placed on early childhood development and parent education and Child Guidance services were funded in all 77 counties with about 300 staff statewide. However, due to budget cuts in later years, today there are about 90 staff in 25 counties.

Many programs that have grown into large statewide systems and continue to provide important services to Oklahoma families were initially established under the direction of the Child Guidance program. Some of the better-known programs include the Office of Child Abuse Prevention; SoonerStart, which provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities; and the Newborn Hearing Screening program.

“We have continued to develop local relationships with Head Start centers, public schools, and child care centers to provide evaluation, intervention and educational services through community outreach,” said _____.

Last year the _______ County Health Department helped an estimated _____ youth, families and professionals by providing child guidance services.

Today’s Child Guidance staff includes psychologists, child development specialists, speech language pathologists, social workers and audiologists through the _____ County Health Department. Statewide there is a ChildCare Warmline that provides free telephone consultation to childcare providers at 1-888-574-5437.

A wide variety of educational programs and consultation are available on subjects including but not limited to: Parent-Child Relationships, Guidance and Discipline, Child Development, Speech, Language and Hearing, Children and Divorce, Infant/Toddler Mental Health, Foster Care and Adoption, Children with Special Needs, Sleep and Bedtime Routines, Grandparenting, Teen Parenting, and Helping Children Cope with Disaster.

To celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of child guidance services in Oklahoma, the ______ County Health Department is planning the following activities to observe the advances made on behalf of children and families: (insert a list of activity dates, times and places here) _________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________.

For more information or to invite Child Guidance staff to speak at a community event, contact the _____ County Health Department at (phone number), or visit this Web site: www.health.state.ok.us/program/cgp/index.html.

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