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Standard of Care for School-Based Mental Health

AIP’s school-based programs aim to elevate the standard of care for school-based mental health and to establish specific quality standards. We model a systematic method of organizing service delivery, working with evidence-based practice protocols when possible.

Key elements of a high-quality standard of care:

  • Clinician is available when the child needs support
  • Clinician has time to take advantage of the resources in the school by making collateral contacts (with teachers, administrators, outside supports, etc.)
  • Clinician collaborates with teachers
  • Clinician can observe children’s behavior in the classroom, playground, lunchroom.
  • Clinician has access to families, whether through home visits or through flexible hours that make it possible for families to come to the school to meet with the clinician. These can be supplemented with telephone, email, or written correspondence.
  • Clinician is provided with a space in the building for private meetings with students and families.

AIP has developed additional Standards of Care for providers in schools working in urban environments with culturally diverse schools, schools with low-income families, schools with many immigrants or students of color, or schools in urban areas with high rates of violence:

  • Availability of trauma-informed services
  • Easy access to services
  • Cultural competency
  • Linguistic competence

For over a decade, AIP has been an active member of the Boston area School-Based Mental Health Collaborative, convened by the Metro Boston Region of the Mass. Dept. of Mental Health. This roundtable of school-based providers shares ideas and resources in order to elevate the standard of care and the services available in schools. In 2002 the Collaborative developed its first School-Based Standards of Care document, codifying standards and expectations for quality school-based services. The Collaborative also created an Evaluation Tool for agencies of school/agency partnerships to use to assess their compliance with these Quality Standards.

AIP’s Connecting With Care program organizes its work with children exhibiting trauma symptoms through Trauma Systems Therapy, a treatment approach that coordinates a multidisciplinary response to a child’s traumatic stress through a series of predictable, empirically validated steps. Trauma Systems Therapy, developed by Dr. Glenn Saxe and Dr. Heidi Ellis of Children’s Hospital Boston, intervenes in the key systems in a child’s life that perpetuate the trauma symptoms, helping child and family both to avoid replaying the traumatic situation and to replace traumatic responses with healthier responses




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