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Fred commented on Pediatric Social Work & Home Visiting

Thanks for your response Jana.  The few pediatricians we have connected with do seem to be very interested and open but my understanding is that of all medical professionals, they are often the quietest, most modest and maybe not the most experiemental, generally.  But once they see the benefit I imagine many would be very open.  Our program receives referrals from many partners we have developed over the years, primarily head start, early head start, some school districts, childcare centers, family/homeless shelters, a community health clinic organization (FQHC), baby court, and less frequently, other mental health providers and we do serve some rural communities in Texas.  We have contracts with some of these partners and provide services at no cost to others through local long-term foundation support (now 5 years).  We have grown from a staff of 3 starting 5 years ago to now a staff of 12 to become 15 with a new grant we've just received from the state (coming from SAMHSA).  OUr 12 staff members are typically social workers, counselors, and family therapists and typically we get 2-3 graduate interns per semester.  Most of our staff have provisional and some full clinical licenses.  We've learned that early childood education or early  child mental health are the most desired experience vs a full clinical license although having both is ideal.

Referrals we receive come primarily from teachers, caregivers, parents, school support staff, child protective services, and child psychiatrists.  Children referred are usually exhibiting some type of disruptive behavior or have experienced some form of trauma. About 6% of kids we serve who are referred are already getting psychotropic medication (as young as age 3) when the referral comes to us and about 20-30% are in need of educational or developmental support/services (IDEA part b and c) and often primarily due to language delays.  To give you an idea of our services I'll describe what one of our early childhood clinicians may experience in a typical day.  They often start at a campus to observe a referred child and conludue their 1-2 hour visit with a consultaiton for the teacher with written recommendations (usually classroom or behavioral management strategies).  They will visit several campuses in a day.  After so many visits for a referred child, the clincian may develop a behavioral plan in collaboration with the teacher and we do follow up coaching and support for the teacher. We hold off on full family integration (for classroom referrals until after 2-3 visits) as 50-80% of those referrals are due to classroom management problems and not a true mental health problem.  We do home visits after a few classroom observations to do a family assessment and then begin individualized parenting sessions (PCIT and Incredible Years strategies used) with an option of brief counseling for child, parents, or other family members. Most of the interventions are integrated into the classroom so lots of training, coaching and guidance is given to teachers.  Staff may attend and IEP meeting (called ARD meetings in Texas) to help parents advocate for their child. Then all staff provide community behavioral management training (program does an average of 1-2 training sessions per month with teachers and parents beign the primary participants).  Late afternoon, eves or Saturday mornings may include home visits. We are quite excited about a new project Early Intervention Court (baby court) in which 0-3 year olds in the foster care system get our comprehensive services that may include foster parents, biological parents, other caregivers and the child. It is modeled after drug courts so parents get increased visits and depending on progress, expedited reunification.  We have collaborted with some doctors who have agreed to allow us to do baseline measures of behavior without the medication through classroom observations and parental consent.  The program is very relationship based (with child, teachers, parents, families, collaborators, etc.). Of course some case managemetn is provided at times with our own staff or with head start support.  Please feel free to email if you'd like to further connect and share info fcardenas@family-service.org

 Mental health through inclusive sports - fantastic concept!! and showing within some outcomes but curious to see impact using other traditional measures of mental health and improved academics too.  Appreciate the organized structure of the well thought out curriculum. Thank you.

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Fred commented on The Identity Project

Forgot to add that perhaps consider use of outcomes that go back to impacting academic success. This will increase potential funding from the business community and school funding.  Kids who feel good about themselves and actively participate in activities  that highlight those strengths will inevitably reflect improved school outcomes/success.