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Many families experience the challenges of caregiver depression and early childhood developmental delays. Although services and supports across systems could help caregivers to deal with such issues at the family level, numerous obstacles prevent adequate screening and identification, referral, and service delivery. The Helping Families Raise Healthy Children initiative implemented in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, addressed these challenges by improving the identification of families with primary caregivers at risk for depression and infants/toddlers at risk for developmental delays, enhancing access to support and services for these families, and better serving these families by offering integrated, relationship-based treatment options that address the needs of both caregivers and young children in the context of the parent-child relationship. The relationship-based care approach helped providers in both systems focus on the parent-child relationship in their work with the family. The initiative also addressed some of the logistical barriers to engagement in behavioral health treatment by providing in-home behavioral health services to families in need. The lessons learned from the initiative helped shape the recommendations for implementing the type of effort outlined in this tool kit, which provides information and resources for implementing depression screening within the early intervention system, strengthening cross-system collaborations, and implementing relationship-based care in the early intervention and behavioral health systems.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Community Care Behavioral Health Organization and was conducted within RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

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