Helping Families Raise Healthy Children
About the Initiative
Many families in our community experience both parental depression and early childhood developmental delays (a developmental delay is when a child does not reach developmental milestones at the expected times). Although these conditions are closely related, local systems identify and treat them separately. As a result, many caregivers are not receiving the support and services they need to manage their depression as well as their child's developmental needs.
Working together, families, health care practitioners, early intervention specialists, and social service providers from over 30 local organizations in Allegheny County are changing the way that care is provided so that families' needs are met, parental stress is reduced, and the well-being of the family at-risk improves.
- Improve the identification of families dealing with the related and often co-occurring issues of caregiver depression and early childhood developmental delays by screening for parental depression and assessing family functioning in the early intervention system.
- Enhance access to supports and services for families with or at-risk for caregiver depression and early childhood developmental delays by establishing a cross-system referral process.
- Better serve at-risk families by providing integrated, family-centered services that address the needs of both primary caregivers and young children in the context of the parent-child relationship.
The Helping Families Raise Healthy Children initiative is the fourth phase of the Allegheny County Maternal and Child Health Care Collaborative's efforts to build a model system of care for families in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
Simultaneous developmental delays among young children and depression among parents can create serious challenges for many families. However, results from the Helping Families Raise Healthy Children initiative suggest that aligning early intervention and behavioral health systems can help.