Children's Enhancement Project

The Children’s Enhancement Project (CEP) is a major initiative of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, and the eight Community Mental Health Centers of the Northwestern Region, designed to allow children affected by serious mental, emotional or behavioral disorders to stay in their own communities.



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. 



CEP develops and implements services designed to allow children with serious mental illness to stay in their own community, and where possible, in their own homes, while simultaneously improving the child’s well-being. Ongoing evaluation ensures continual assessment and feedback towards strengthening each child’s individual progress and long term well-being.




Professional Parent Homes:  This is the most intensive level of the CEP.  The homes are run by “professional parents” who are trained in trauma, positive behavioral support methods, and person-centered planning.  These homes have only one child placed in them, and one parent is not employed outside the home, 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 an Enhanced Behavioral Specialist. Together, this team creates a care plan and monitors and assesses the child’s progress.

Enhanced Behavioral Specialist:  Each child accepted into the CEP is assigned to an Enhanced Behavioral Specialist, who has been trained to provide extensive oversight into each child’s case management.  The Specialist works with children placed in Professional Parent Homes as well as those in other environments, such Children’s Division, Juvenile Court or KCRO placement, to ensure that therapy (and other resources) are available and accessible to each child. If a need is identified, but resources are not available, the Specialist will work with the CEP team to develop those resources.  In addition, Specialists work with parents and/or guardians to teach necessary skills which will assist in managing each child’s behaviors and help meet each child’s needs. 

Discharge Planning and Support: The CEP is part of a continuum of care provided by the Community Mental Health Centers.  When it is determined that a child no longer requires the intensive level of care provided by CEP, trained professionals will continue to work with the family to determine what on-going services are still needed, and they will assist in connecting the family with those resources.

For more information, contact Terry Cunningham at



Community Mental Healthcare Providers

Comprehensive Mental Health Services, Inc.
Family Guidance Center
Heartland Center for Behavioral Change
North Central Missouri Mental Health Center
Swope Health Services
TMC Behavioral Health
Tri-County Mental Health Services