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Presented at the 20th Annual Research Conference

Mental Health Consultation in Early Education Settings: Building the Research Base

We're sorry, handouts are not available for this presentation.

Session Number: 18 Room: Salon B

Presentation Type: symposium

Chair: Judith C. Meyers Discussant: Roxane Kaufmann

Synopsis: Mental health consultation to early education settings is an increasingly widespread strategy to foster the social and emotional development of children and provide early intervention and treatment for young children with challenging behaviors or other mental health concerns. The presentation focuses on recent efforts to identify and build an evidence-base to support the effectiveness of this intervention. The results of a review and synthesis of research addressing the child and family outcomes of mental health consultation will be followed by presentations summarizing the only two randomized control studies of mental health consultation that have been done: the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership in 43 preschool classrooms in Connecticut, and the Chicago School Readiness Project in 35 Head Start classrooms. The implications for policy, practice, and future research will be discussed.

Date: Monday, March 5, 2007

Session Time: 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Mental Health Consultation in Preschool Classrooms: Preliminary Findings from a Randomized Trial in Head Start Settings

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Presenting: C. Cybele Raver

All Authors for this paper: C. Cybele Raver; Stephanie Jones; Christine Li-Grining; Latriese Sardin-Adjei; Darlene Jones-Lewis

Presentation Type: element of symposium

Synopsis: Preschools in low-income neighborhoods are likely called upon to serve a disproportionately high number of young children with behavior problems. Using a clustered randomized controlled trial design, the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) aimed to improve classroom processes in 35 Head Start classrooms through 30 hours of teacher training and weekly classroom visits by mental health consultants. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed that the CSRP intervention benefited classrooms by improving positive classroom climate, teacher sensitivity, and classroom behavior management. Discussion of these findings reflects on policy implications, future research, and lessons from the field.

The Evidence Base for Child and Family Outcomes Resulting from Mental Health Consultation: A Research Synthesis

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Presenting: Eileen Brennan; Mary Dallas Allen

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

Presentation Type: element of symposium

Synopsis: Mental health consultants assist early childhood staff and family members to deal with difficult or troubling behavior of young children in early care and education settings. We report the results of content analysis of 27 empirical research studies investigating the effects of mental health consultation on child and family outcomes. Children receiving consultation showed gains in social and emotional development and reduced problem behaviors; preschool expulsions decreased. Family access to mental health services increased, and parenting skills improved, but parent stress did not diminish. A case is made for support for a rigorous set of studies using consistent measurement.

Findings from a Random Controlled Trial of a Statewide Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation System

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Presenting: Walter Gilliam

All Authors for this paper: Walter Gilliam

Presentation Type: element of symposium

Synopsis: Effects of a statewide system of early childhood mental health consultation were studied using a random controlled trial with baseline control and blind classroom raters (n = 43 treatment classes and 42 control classes). Treatment consisted of a consultant that provided both classroom-based and child-specific consultation for 8 weeks, plus a week-12 final consultation. Two target children were followed per class. Controlling for baseline differences, significant effects were found in the areas of teacher-rated child opposionality, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and total externalizing behavior problems (Cohen d ranging from 0.23 to 0.41). No significant differences were found for global classroom quality or teacher-child interactions; teachersÕ beliefs and practices; teacher job stress, control, and satisfaction; or teacher depression. The nature and implications of these mixed findings are discussed.