The Safety-Net project is intended to disrupt disparities in mental health treatment access for children at-risk for childhood trauma (ACEs) and/or serious emotional disturbance (SED). “Safety Net” will use mobile clinical and family support teams to improve mental health outcomes. This clinical innovation, nested in an integrated system-of-care will be piloted for children, ages 3-18 yrs., with SED who receive primary care through Cambridge Health CHA.
The Safety-Net project, is intended to disrupt disparities in mental health treatment access for children at-risk for childhood trauma (ACEs) and/or serious emotional disturbance (SED). “Safety Net” will use mobile clinical and family support teams to improve mental health outcomes. This clinical innovation, nested in an integrated system-of-care will be piloted for children, ages 3-18 yrs., with SED who receive primary care through Cambridge Health CHA. Massachusetts had the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in the US during 2016 (DHHS, 2017). Approximately, 25% of these children live below the federal poverty level (American Community Survey, 2011-2013). The “gateway” cities this study targets in Metro-Boston (Malden and Everett) have 2-3 times the rate of foreign-born residents (43% vs. 15%) compared to the rest of the MA, and twice the statewide rate of children whose parental language is not English (54% vs. 22.3%). Together, SED and ACEs put children at much higher risk for adverse health and mental health outcomes in childhood and beyond.
CHA’s Children’s Health Initiative (CHI) leadership will combine evidence-based interventions from its earlier MHSPY program (family support, care management and shared goals) with new strategies, such as interdisciplinary child mental health evaluation teams, all within primary care. Clinical expertise will be combined with peer-to-peer parent/guardian support for trauma-informed care delivery to both parent and child. All aspects of the care continuum will be provided in a culturally and linguistically competent manner, with child and family-driven care planning. Overall, the program will be sited in two cities, supported by a larger, specialized system of care involving state and local child serving agencies, schools and community-resources. The study team anticipates serving 248 children and families in total, at approximately 70 children per year. Program goals include: 1) Promote earlier recognition of child mental health needs; 2) Family-driven assessment approach to offset disparities in treatment engagement and outcomes; 3) Facilitate state, local and care planning team coordination and collaboration using SOC principles. Objectives: 1) Assess presence of SED (Serious Emotional Disturbance) via Standardized measures of Clinical Functioning (CGAS and CAFAS) 2) Screen for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by use of modified ACE-Q tool, 3) Increase access to child mental health evaluation and treatment using Pre-post measures of patterns of service use for study participants and Assessment of patterns of care for propensity-score weighted comparison group, 4) Improve family care experience, as measured by Baseline and follow-up Family Professional Partnership Scale assessments, 5) Improve clinical functioning, as measured by Baseline and follow-up CGAS and CAFAS assessments. Safety-Net’s goals align with CHA’s goals within its Accountable Care Organization contract with MassHealth, thus offering a chance to measure and evaluate outcomes for a customized system-of-care for some of the state’s most vulnerable populations.