Community Based Children and Family Mental Health Services Research Program

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Community Based Children and Family Mental Health Services Research

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The Community Based Children and Family Mental Health Services Research Program within the Institute for Juvenile Research (IJR) conducts research to provide mental health services for children living in low-income urban communities.  

The primary goal of the program is to conduct research that promotes effective and sustainable mental health services to support the prevention, early intervention, and treatment of urban children's mental health difficulties. The research program’s specific goals are to:

  • Collaborate with key policy stakeholders to advance policy on effective practices supporting children’s learning and social and emotional development.
  • Build capacity by activating influential community members to support children and families within natural community settings.
  • Revise the role and function of mental health providers to support children and families within natural community settings
  • Focus on relevance, feasibility and sustainability in the design and implementation of prevention to intervention services 

Our work has focused on training teachers to use classroom-based interventions for disruptive students, deescalating aggressive behavior on the playground before it becomes violent, and building and supporting community-based workforces. We have refined a public health approach that uses resources inherent in natural community settings to achieve mental health aims alongside social, emotional, recreational and educational goals.  We work closely with public agencies to insure that the work has real world significance, including projects with the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Schools, and Chicago Department of Public Health, and nonprofit social service agencies in schools and after school programs.