BROOKINGS, S.D. - South Dakota State University Counseling & Human Development Assistant Professor, Christin Carotta recently joined the SDSU Extension team as the new SDSU Extension Child & Family Specialist.
"We are excited that Christin can help us round our team to serve South Dakotans in all stages of life," said Suzanne Stluka, SDSU Extension Food & Families Program Director.
In her new role with SDSU Extension, in addition to her faculty role at SDSU, Carotta will also serve South Dakotans by providing support for youth, families, and educators.
"I'm hoping to further assist South Dakota families and practitioners in their efforts to promote positive outcomes for youth in our community," Carotta said.
More about Christin Carotta
SDSU's land grant mission of outreach attracted Carotta to apply for a faculty position in the university's Department of Counseling & Human Development.
"The outreach that happens through SDSU Extension is very important. I'm looking forward to interacting directly with, children and families in South Dakota to identify what additional resources and supports are needed to promote positive development, particularly among underserved populations" said Carotta, who explains that her early experience as an elementary school teacher motivated her to return to school to pursue a PhD in Human Development and Family Sciences from The Ohio State University.
"As an inner-city educator, working with multicultural children and families in low-income communities, I gained a greater understanding of the adversity that youth and families experience. My outreach and research are now focused on fostering well-being, resilience, and promoting positive outcomes among vulnerable populations," she said.
Carotta and her SDSU colleagues Staci Born and Cynthia Elverson are currently working in partnership with South Eastern Behavioral Health to increase access to early childhood mental health prevention and interventions in South Dakota.
Through a $2.2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the South Dakota Early Childhood Mental Health Collaborative, they will help professionals identify and work with children, from birth through age 5 who are experiencing mental health/emotional difficulties.
The project will target mental health services for children and families who live in the 14 South Dakota counties,10 of which are designated as mental health shortage areas.
"Our goal is to further ensure that children and families in rural areas of South Dakota have increased access to mental health services including prevention, early identification, and early intervention." Carotta said.
To learn more about the work Carotta will do in South Dakota communities, contact her by e-mail.