DHS News February 2010
View the February 2010 DHS News Newsletter in a printable format.
OBH, CCBHO awarded new grant for dual-risk families
Many families in Allegheny County live with diagnoses of both parental depression and early child developmental delays. Typically, these families have had to receive treatment for these conditions independent of each other.
Now, however, thanks to a $500,000 grant awarded to Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (CCBHO) through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, staff from 36 provider agencies will be cross-trained to identify “dual-risk” families, including families where parental depression may be a reaction to their children’s special needs.
Providers, including physical, occupational and speech therapists; pediatricians; nurses; and social workers – as well as the staff of early education programs such as Head Start – will offer advice and support in a single-family therapeutic care model called Helping Families Raise Healthy Children.
Eligibility and need
Families in Allegheny County eligible for Helping Families must have primary caregivers with (or at high risk for) depression and children up to three years old with (or at risk for) developmental delays.
According to recent statistics, each year, an estimated 2,790 new mothers in Allegheny County live with depression and 2,500 infants/toddlers are referred for early intervention because of developmental concerns due to medical and/or environmental risks. Also, an estimated 1,000 (40%) of these same children have primary caregivers with depression.
Goals and objectives
Helping Families hopes to improve identification of eligible dual-risk families by screening for parental depression and assessing how families function in the early intervention system. In addition, by establishing a cross-system referral process, the new grant program will enhance access to supports and services for primary caregivers who are at a high risk for depression and infants/toddlers at risk for development delays.
The new program is building in elements to ensure long-term sustainability, as well, by including the development and implementation of county-wide protocols, technical assistance, infrastructure support, data collection/communication tools, and ongoing evaluation.
The cross-training of provider staff will allow dual-risk families to receive services in a culturally competent and integrated fashion, including receiving general orientations on parental depression, early childhood development, and the parent-child relationship.
In addition, provider staff will be trained on the use of screening/assessment tools and cross-system referral processes and workshops on family-centered interventions.
What’s more, families will be encouraged to provide feedback on key components, serve as co-trainers in educational sessions for providers, work with all partners to improve services and supports for consumers, and assist with consumer outreach efforts.
The RAND Health project "Helping Families Raise Healthy Children" of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, seeks to improve identification and services for families who have a risk of experiencing caregiver depression and early childhood developmental delays.
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