The Knowledge Center supports a small number of projects that address critical needs in the children’s behavioral health system, leverage existing resources, and have the potential to catalyze change beyond the scope of the project. 

Family Talk

During the winter and spring of 2016, Dr. William Beardslee and his team at Children’s Hospital provided training and coaching in the Family Talk Preventative Intervention to approximately 20 staff at Becket Family Services who deliver DMH contracted Family Systems Intervention (FSI) services and approximately 50 staff at South Shore Mental Health who provide In-Home Therapy (IHT). Family Talk is a family-focused, strength-based, psycho-educational intervention originally designed to help families identify the effects of parental depression and other parental adversities, share individual experiences with parental depression, build on family strengths, improve family communication, and develop strategies to promote resilience in parents and children.  

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Let's Talk About Parenting

The majority of adults in the US living with mental illnesses are parents. However, service providers often express concern that they are not prepared to work with clients who are parents, feeling they lack the necessary tools and skills to identify and meet their needs. Let’s Talk About Parenting (LTP) supports providers to explore the experiences and impact of parenthood and family life on adult clients and to identify their goals and needs, keeping parenthood and family life in mind. LT-RP is an adaptation of the Finnish Let’s Talk model, an evidence-based psychosocial intervention to assist adult clients/parents with mental illness to identify and meet the needs of their children. The Knowledge Center has been working with Kathleen Biebel, PhD, at UMass Medical School and Joanne Nicholson, PhD, at the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center to develop the LTP model. 

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Workforce Collaborative Evaluation 
The Knowledge Center is funding the JSI Training & Research Institute to conduct an evaluation of the CBH Workforce Collaborative’s current initiatives.  The CBH Workforce Collaborative is a statewide coalition of service providers dedicated to addressing a critical workforce shortage and enhance provider capacity to implement culturally and linguistically competent services.  DMH provided seed funding to the CBH Workforce Collaborative to pilot a free, college-credit certificate program for behavioral health specialists working as Family Partners, Therapeutic Mentors and Therapeutic Training and Support Specialists.  This successful pilot has evolved into a foundation for more comprehensive workforce development initiatives, funded by the Commonwealth Corporation, for community service agencies working in urban communities of color.  The goals of these initiatives are to:

  • Create pathways for career advancement for a multicultural, multilingual workforce, which is disproportionately concentrated in children’s behavioral health worker positions.
  • Reduce the high cost to employers, associated with recruiting and training entry-level CBH workers.
  • Increase culturally relevant, effective clinical care for Black and Latino families.
  • Increase access to CBH services for multicultural families by testing models that integrate the new Children’s Behavioral Health Services within pediatric primary care and urban public school systems.

A combination of strategies designed to address all levels of provider organizations will be tested at Children’s Services of Roxbury and by two regional collaboratives.  The Western and Southern MA Collaborative serves Springfield, Holyoke, New Bedford and Taunton, with the Gandara Center as the Lead Agency.  The Greater Boston/Merrimack Valley Collaborative, with the Home for Little Wanderers as the lead agency, serves the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Lynn, Lawrence and Somerville.