Coronavirus and a crash course in data analytics

By: Dr. Cheri Shapiro

Since I last wrote the world has literally altered course and life as we know it has come to an abrupt halt.  We are all struggling to create new routines, new ways of work, and new personal and family routines.

The need for social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19 has pushed many of you into the world of remote service provision, whether by telemedicine or phone, or possibly even by text or email (on secure platforms, of course!).  As you embark on this journey, how can you stay on course?

One lesson COVID-19 has taught many around the globe is the absolute importance of data for tracking purposes.  I have written in the past about how collection of information to track progress is a critical element of use of evidence-based interventions.  Now, we all, in anxious anticipation, check daily statistics regarding the number of cases and deaths in the hope that our efforts to stop the spread of this disease are working.  The power of this information is undeniable.

How can we apply this to our support of clients?

Helping clients self-monitor can be an important part of treatment.  Creating rating scales of mood or behavior that can be easily used is important.  For example, asking a parent to rate the level of difficulty they have had in the last day in managing their child’s behavior on a scale from 1-10, or having an adolescent rate their level of sadness or fear on a similar scale, can help you track progress with your client. As home tasks are given for practice, clients can track whether they did the task, and provide a rating of their mood or behavior.  In this fashion, you can link treatment to outcomes.  

Other tracking options include using surveys that can be completed electronically or apps for tracking a variety of behaviors.  Remember, the act of tracking itself can be reactive (i.e. changing the behavior we are targeting), which may be exactly the desired goal.

Keep safe and keep on tracking …

Look for our new survey!

By: Dr. Cheri Shapiro

The advent of the Families First federal legislation and Clearinghouse (check out prior blog posts) has created a need to better understand the landscape here in South Carolina regarding use of evidence-based programs/interventions/models by behavioral health providers. To address this need, we have partnered with the SC Department of Social Services to disseminate a survey to behavioral health providers across the state serving children, youth, families, and caregivers.

Continue reading

Ask this question when selecting evidence-based programs

By: Dr. Cheri Shapiro

In a recent post, I wrote about The Families First Prevention Services Act and the associated Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse.  The Clearinghouse is live, is reviewing multiple programs for potential inclusion, and can be found here.

This Act has energized discussions about adoption of evidence-based programs and interventions. One important question that systems or organizations ask when considering adoption of evidence-based behavioral health interventions is, “Which program should we select?”  However, we may not be asking the right question.  The better question might be, “Which combination of evidence-based programs and practice elements from these programs is likely to help us achieve our desired results for the largest number of youth and families in need?”

Continue reading

Engaging and Training with Compassion incorporates MAP training

In an earlier post I have described the Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP) modular form of intervention for children’s mental health challenges. As you may recall, MAP is a flexible, individualized intervention system designed to support clinicians in identifying evidence-based interventions (EBI’s) and key components of EBI’s that address the presenting concerns of youth and families. MAP originated in a System of Care in Hawaii to improve outcomes and quality of care for children and adolescents.  For more information on MAP, please visit the PracticeWise website.

Continue reading

Another day, another clearinghouse!

Today’s post is called “Another day, another clearinghouse!” But before we get too cynical, let’s take a closer look.

Policy landscape changes are like the climate – we can expect shifts over time, influenced by changes in policy leaders and reflecting changes in priorities.  The Families First Prevention Services Act (worth many kudos for shifting the focus to prevention services to support children, youth and families and to prevent placement in foster care) has created the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse.  The Clearinghouse is live and can be found here.

Continue reading

Congress considers funding prevention and family services

By: Dr. Cheri Shapiro

The US Congress is considering a bill that would “amend amend parts B and E of title IV of the Social Security Act to invest in funding prevention and family services to help keep children safe and supported at home, to ensure that children in foster care are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like, and appropriate settings, and for other purposes.”

This legislation is very important for advancing evidence-based services for children, youth, and families, and for focusing on prevention. Specifically, one primary component of this legislation allows for states to use federal funds to provide “… mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services, in-home parent skill-based programs, and kinship navigator services” to prevent placement of children in foster care.

(Read the full text of the bill here.).

Services eligible for states to use will be included in a clearinghouse that is under construction as we speak. (Think really smart people with an objective, critical eye checking out lots of research on programs to help children, youth, and their families).

States may delay adoption of this legislation and associated funding for up to two years.  This makes incredible sense, as just upskilling a workforce in a single evidence-based approach can take months … or even years … to go to scale.

Stay tuned for updates later this summer on this important topic!