Improving Family-to-Family Services in Children’s Mental Health
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health
This study is being conducted in collaboration with New York University School of Medicine Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Kimberly Hoagwood, PI).
National surveys indicate that the number of professional family-to-family peer advocates providing direct services to parents of children with psychiatric needs is increasing. This new service enhancement addresses critical workforce shortages and has the potential to improve efficient delivery of clinical services. In New York State, family peer advocates (FPA) delivering family-to-family services (F2FS) work in 400 programs statewide, providing information and education, instructional skills (ie, parenting classes), concrete assistance (ie, respite), and advocacy. New York is in the process of doubling the number of FPA, establishing a certification process for the professionalization of this new workforce, and allowing F2FS to be billable under state regulations. The children’s mental health system has historically been unprepared to address chronic levels of unmet need among youth. Persistent inefficiencies in child mental health services and increased pressures for accountability create a pressing need for more efficient workforce models, such as those including FPA, to deliver quality services.
This study is examining agency-level infrastructure (eg, governance, hierarchy, financing), social context (culture, climate, attitudes), and process/content of services provided by family advisors in twenty mental health agencies in the state of New York to develop an enhanced empowerment intervention, called E2, to strengthen agency-level support for professional family advisors. The E2 intervention and the center’s organizational intervention, ARC, will subsequently be tested in ten agencies. The Center’s Organizational Social Context (OSC) measure is being used to assess and track the culture, climates, and work attitudes of the participating agencies over time. One aim of the study is to examine the feasibility and preliminary impact of the ARC intervention on agency context, FPA behavior, parent behavior, and youth functioning.