Healthy Futures: Year one evaluation of early childhood mental health consultation
The Department of Mental Health (DMH) recently completed the first year of implementing an evidence-informed mental health consultation project in 24 community based child development centers (CDCs). The Healthy Futures project is based largely upon a model developed by the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (Cohen & Kaufmann, 2005). In this model: Four full-time, licensed mental health professionals provide on-site mental health consultation services aimed at building the capacity of directors and staff at CDCs to reduce challenging behaviors and promote positive social-emotional development. Consultants also help to identify those young children in need of more intensive services, referring them for evidence-based treatment groups, also offered by the Healthy Futures clinicians. An evaluation of the Healthy Futures project was contracted for by the DMH with the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. A random sample of 58 classrooms was selected for the in-depth data collection. The evaluation measured the frequency and intensity of the consultation services delivered and the impact of consultation on the social-emotional quality of the CDCs. Data were gathered from the consultants, child care directors and teachers from July 2010 to June 2011. The social-emotional climate of the classroom was assessed before the CDCs received Healthy Futures services and then again at the end of the school year. (author abstract)
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