The mission of the Research and Training Center for Children's Mental Health was to increase the effectiveness of service systems by strengthening the empirical base for such systems through research and dissemination to key audiences. The final five-year research program expanded the Center's mission with an integrated research, training, and dissemination program targeted specifically at implementation issues for developing effective systems of care.

The Center's research program from 2004 - 2009 consisted of six interrelated studies designed to produce knowledge about the development and implementation of effective and integrated systems of care for children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances and their families. Six integrated research projects were designed, in the short run, to enhance knowledge about implementation of effective systems of care and, in the long run, to make it possible for children with serious emotional disturbances to live, learn, work, and thrive in their own communities.

RTC Points of Pride

  • The Center’s PI (Dr. Bob Friedman) served as Co-Chair of the System Change Workgroup for the Council on Collaboration and Coordination of the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch, Center for Mental Health Services. In this capacity, he was the lead author of a report on “Bringing Systems of Care to Scale,” which has been widely distributed by the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch, and is helping to guide further growth of systems of care. Dr. Friedman also delivered an invited presentation at the annual mental health symposium of the Carter Center in November, 2008, on the integration of a public health approach and systems of care.
  • Dr. Mario Hernandez, Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies and a key member of the Center leadership team, served as President of the Board of the National Alliance for Minority Behavioral Health Associations. Dr. Hernandez delivered several invited addresses on cultural and linguistic competence, and the conceptual framework and research findings from Study 5, of which Dr. Hernandez was PI, has been accepted for publication in Psychiatric Services, one of the key journals in the field.
  • Dr. Krista Kutash, Co-PI for the Center, serves as Co-Editor of the Journal of Behavioral and Emotional Disorders. Dr. Kutash, along with Dr. Al Duchnowski, also a Center Co-PI, have published several reports and made numerous presentations on their NIDRR-supported “Parent Connectors,” project, which results from the work of the Research and Training Center. Dr. Duchnowski and Dr. Kutash have received additional funding from the Institute for Educational Sciences to continue their research on services within the schools.
  • Dr. Mary Armstrong, PI of Study 3, serves as Co-Chair of the Outcomes Roundtable for Children. Under her leadership, the Study 3 team has produced this past year an updated resource compendium on comprehensive financing of systems of care, and has added a special report on the financing of early childhood services. Technical assistance on financing has been provided to six different states, and numerous presentations have been made as well.
  • Dr. Sharon Hodges and Ms. Kathleen Ferreira, of Study 2, have initiated a process of review of the important components of the definition of systems of care. A very prestigious journal in the field, Evaluation and Program Planning, is providing them with a special issue, and this was published in January 2010.
  • Prior to its annual conference in March, 2009, the Center, in partnership with the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at Georgetown University, convened a special meeting of leaders in the field to help plan future directions for the children’s mental health field, particularly in the context of changes in leadership and new opportunities and challenges. A summary of the recommendations from this group has been completed and distributed broadly.
  • At the biennial Training Institutes in Children’s Mental Health, the Center made presentations on findings from every one of its studies, and also from its graduate certificate program. Additional funding was received to from the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch to help the Center in its outreach efforts to minority universities to inform them of the graduate certificate program, and also to support the activities of the system change workgroup.
  • The Center also collaborated with Macro, International, Inc. in a successful proposal to evaluate the next wave of grantees in the system of care grant program.

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