Helping Families Raise Healthy Children

Identifying and helping families with parental depression and early childhood developmental delays in Allegheny County, Pa.

Dates of Project: August 2009 to July 2013

Description: Helping Families Raise Healthy Children changed the way the behavioral health, early intervention, and maternal and child health care systems work in Allegheny County, Pa., say the project directors at the Community Care Behavioral Health Organization. Now these systems communicate effectively and work together to help more families facing parental depression and early childhood developmental delays receive support and services needed to live healthier lives.

Project partners implemented protocols for depression screening and referrals for parents of children receiving early intervention services for developmental delays. They trained early intervention service coordinators to offer depression screening and behavioral health to the mothers; and they trained early intervention and maternal child health care therapists and practitioners in care and services that support the parent-child relationship. They also convened a learning collaborative for providers to support cross-system collaborations, and spread the project to other counties in Pennsylvania.

The project was evaluated by the RAND Corporation.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported Helping Families Raise Healthy Children through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships program.

“The shift from a fragmented system to an integrated system where folks work together and don’t treat parents and children as if they’re separate is key. Folks are no longer operating in silos,” says Patty Schake, Project Co-Director.

Key Results

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71% of parents referred for depression/early intervention services in Allegheny Co., PA, used the services.