Connecting With Care
Connecting with Care in CTCS
A Community-School Partnership to Promote Mental Health Supports for Children and Families
Connecting With Care (CWC) brings mental health services into high need neighborhoods and public schools in Boston to help children and families cope with emotional challenges, particularly in the face of trauma and violent crime in their neighborhood. CWC links partner schools with local mental health agencies to provide services that support students, families, and school.
CWC is a comprehensive school-based, community-driven mental health partnership that overcomes barriers to mental health treatment for children and families at participating elementary, middle, and K-8 schools.. Led by the Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention (AIP), the CWC model integrates full-time clinical supports provided by our partner agencies into the fabric of each school so that children, families, and the school benefit from the social/emotional expertise of a mental health professional that works side by side with teachers to support children’s success. CWC clinicians bring cultural competency to their work with the diverse populations who attend the CWC schools. For example, in East Boston, where the majority of students come from Spanish-speaking homes, we have bilingual/bicultural clinicians working with children and families in their native language.
CWC provides a range of mental health and emotional supports to children and families, with a special focus on Evidence-Based Treatments (EBTs) for trauma and anxiety, using the Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) and Coping Cat treatment models. CWC is Boston’s first mental health program to convene multi-agency, multi-disciplinary teams for implementation of EBTs, and the nation’s first to adapt Trauma Systems Therapy to the school setting. CWC places a high emphasis on family engagement and is the first program in Massachusetts to co-locate home-based services in some of our partner schools, providing teachers direct access to the professionals who are working with the families of their students and access to the continuum of services provided by the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI). CWC services are delivered by full-time, master’s-level mental health professionals, placed at each CWC school by our partner agencies and coordinated by AIP. Clinicians treat children in the school during the school day and meet with children and families on-site after school, at home visits, or at the clinicians’ agency. Services are provided during the school year and during the summer. CWC directly addresses the financial, policy, system, and treatment barriers that have stymied other efforts to infuse schools with mental health services. CWC is making a system-wide impact through expanded school-based service partnerships and development of a collaboration infrastructure. Since 2008, CWC has been recognized by the U.S. Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) as a “Promising Innovative Practice.”
System Reform Elements
CWC demonstrates reforms in four important policy arenas related to children’s mental health and school-based services (FAST):
System of finance for children’s mental health
Access to mental health care
Stigmatization of mental health
- What Is Connecting With Care?
- The Goals of Connecting With Care
- Special Approaches, Tailored to the Needs of the Community
- How Does Connecting With Care Work?
What Is Connecting With Care?
Connecting With Care (CWC) reaches out to children and families in high-need neighborhoods and public schools in Boston to help them cope with emotional challenges in the face of trauma. The program is a community-guided, culturally competent mental health system reform and treatment model that brings a specialization in trauma and a focus on local sustainability.
CWC coordinates with partnering community mental health providers to place full-time clinicians at each partnering school. These clinicians provide therapy to children in school during the school day and meet with students and families on-site after school, at home visits, or at the clinicians’ agency. Services are provided during the school year and over the summer.
CWC places a high emphasis on family engagement and is the first program in Massachusetts to co-locate in-home therapy (IHT) teams in some of our schools, providing teachers direct access to the professionals who are working with the families of their students and access to the full continuum of Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) services.
CWC is committed to quality service provision in schools. Clinicians receive training and weekly supervision in scientifically-validated treatments for childhood trauma and anxiety, integrating parent and teacher engagement in school-based treatment.