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Child and therapist at CommCARE program.


Missouri Department of Mental Health logo for

The Children’s Enhancement Program (CEP) is a major initiative of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, and the eight Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) of the Northwestern region, designed to allow children and youth affected by serious mental, emotional or behavioral disorders, or dual diagnoses, stay in their own communities.  These children may be referred by the eight CMHCs or any other child-serving agency (Family Court, Children’s Division, Regional Office, schools) but all have to go through their CMHC, who serves as the Administrative Agent.


Our mission is to support our children and youth by enhancing the services and supports available, discussing and acting on issues affecting our children, developing community partnerships, and promoting communication between child-serving organizations, families, and supports systems. 


FOCUS of the CEP 

The CEP develops and implements services for children and youth for whom traditional services have not been successful.  The goal is to provide services, education, and support that will allow very high needs children/youth to stay in their own community, and where possible, in their own homes, while simultaneously improving the child/youth’s well-being.



Professional Parent Homes:  Professional Parent Homes (PPH):  This is a service developed by CEP that is now a part of Comprehensive Mental Health Services continuum of care.  This service can be contracted by CEP, or any CMHC.  The goal is to provide a structured environment that is a step-down from a more restrictive level of care.  The homes are run by “Professional Parents” who are trained in trauma, positive behavioral supports methods, and person-centered planning.  These homes have only one CEP child placed in them, allowing for focus to be maintained on the needs and support of the child.  The parents work closely with the child’s family, along with a team of professionals, led by the Enhanced Behavior Specialist.  Together, this team creates a care plan, and monitors and assesses the child/youth’s progress.

Enhanced Behavioral Specialist:  Enhanced Behavior Specialist:  The Specialist works with children/youth in their own homes to prevent out of home placements; as well as PPH, and in other placements to ensure that therapy (and other resources) are available to each child/youth.  The Specialist works with the CEP Coordinator and parents to develop an Individual Team for each child/youth accepted into CEP.  This team, facilitated by the Enhanced Behavior Specialist, identifies, develops and supports services that meet the needs of the child/youth and family that can support success in the community.

Discharge Planning and Support: The CEP is part of a continuum of care provided by the CMHCs.  When it is determined by the child/youth’s Individual Team that the intensive level of care provided by CEP is no longer required, the team will work with the family to determine what ongoing services are still needed and they will assist in connecting the family with those resources.

For more information,contact:

Terry Cunningham, MS

Children’s Enhancement Program Coordinator


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