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Presented at the 19th Annual Research Conference

Preventing Preschool Expulsion: Mental Health Consultation for Young Children with Challenging Behaviors

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Session Number: 33 Room: Salon A

Presentation Type: symposium

Chair: Deborah F. Perry Discussant: Roxane Kaufmann

Synopsis: This symposium will present data that examine factors related to preschoolers’ challenging behavior. The first paper reports findings that youngsters served in 40 state-funded pre-kindergarten programs are expelled at a rate that is three-times that of K-12 children. One variable related to lower rates of expulsion was access to mental health consultation (MHC). The second paper presents the findings from a comprehensive research synthesis of 23 reports that examined the effectiveness of MHC on staff and program outcomes. The last paper examines the characteristics of effective MHC in a large sample of Head Start staff.

Date: Friday, February 24, 2006

Session Time: 10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Presentation Time: 10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Prekindergarteners Left Behind: Expulsion Rates in State Prekindergarten Systems

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Presenting: Walter Gilliam

All Authors for this paper: Walter Gilliam

Presentation Type: element of symposium

Synopsis: Results of a nationally representative study of 3,898 prekindergarten classes indicated that 10.4% of prekindergarten teachers reported expelling at least one preschooler in the past 12 months, of which 19.9% expelled more than one. Nationally, 6.67 preschoolers were expelled per 1,000 enrolled. The prekindergarten expulsion rate is 3.2 times the rate for K-12 students. Rates are reported for each of the 40 states that fund prekindergarten. Rates were highest for older preschoolers, African Americans, and boys. The likelihood of expulsion decreases significantly with access to classroom-based mental health consultation.

A Research Synthesis of the Effectiveness of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

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Presenting: Eileen Brennan; Deborah Perry; Mary Dallas Allen; Adey Tsega

All Authors for this paper: Eileen Brennan; Deborah Perry; Mary Dallas Allen; Adey Tsega; Deborah Perry; Mary Dallas Allen; Jennifer Bradley; Adey Tsega

Presentation Type: element of symposium

Synopsis: Increased numbers of children are being expelled from preschool. Mental health consultation can help families and caregivers cope with troubling behavior in young children. We reviewed 23 recent empirical studies examining mental health consultation in early childhood settings. Using content analysis, we classified the studies by research design and synthesized major findings related to staff and program level outcomes. Studies reported improved staff attitudes, skills, and retention, and mixed findings related to improved quality of classroom environments. We argue that policymakers and practitioners need systematic, rigorous tests of this type of intervention.

Multi-Level Determinants of Effective Mental Health Consultation: Results from a National Survey

Download Handouts: 950kb pdf

Presenting: Beth Green; Maria Everhart

All Authors for this paper: Beth Green; Maria Everhart

Presentation Type: element of symposium

Synopsis: In response to the increasing need to better support children with emotional/behavioral challenges in childcare settings, mental health consultation with early childhood educators is an increasingly popular intervention strategy. However, there is little empirical evidence about characteristics of effective consultation. We present findings from a national survey of 74 Head Start programs and 712 Head Start directors, staff, and consultants to address this gap. Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling, results suggest that the key factor in effective consultation is the quality of staff-consultant relationships, above and beyond characteristics such as the amount spent on consultation, and ratio of consultant hours to number of children.