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Reflections and Highlights from FY 2022

Letter from the President and CEO

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Jeff15562_zucker20190912.jpgAs I reflect on the past year, I am grateful to our colleagues and partners for recognizing the significant behavioral health needs of youth and their families, and doing incredible work to make a difference. A collective response to a significant crisis was needed, and our partners across the state came together to identify new and innovative solutions. New state and federal legislation were passed, and historic investments were made. In so many sectors, I witnessed dedicated and committed individuals stepping up and working harder than ever to positively impact the children’s behavioral health system. Those efforts will have lasting impacts. It is my sincere hope that we all embrace this season of rest and recuperation and return in 2023 ready to do even greater things!

At CHDI, we were proud to be right in the middle of the very important work that took place in 2022. Every day, CHDI’s dedicated staff are advancing solutions to address the current crisis, support the behavioral health workforce, and improve children’s behavioral health outcomes. I am deeply grateful to our staff, board of directors, and many partners for collaborating to support children and families and the providers and schools that serve them. Together, we made progress toward our collective goal of building better systems, policies, and practices that improve children's behavioral health and well-being.

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Highlights from this past year at CHDI include engaging 207 schools to address students’ mental health and well-being, training 270+ new clinicians to deliver evidence-based treatments, improving access to trauma-informed services for young children, convening four statewide workgroups to address pressing system-wide issues, and launching a national online course to train child-serving professionals and school staff best practices for screening children for trauma. We also led quality improvement activities for Connecticut’s mobile crisis, care coordination, and outpatient service systems and partnered to launch a national technical assistance center that is working with six states to implement effective mobile crisis programs for youth.

It was truly an honor for CHDI to be recognized as a 2022 Best Place to Work by the Hartford Business Journal and New Haven Biz. As a staff, we dedicated ourselves to an ongoing commitment to antiracism and equity through internal training and new data analysis and project management strategies.

We also reorganized our initiatives into core areas that we believe will help us address some of the most pressing needs in children’s behavioral health. I encourage everyone to refer to an accompanying infographic or click below for examples within each of these five core areas:

System Development and Integration 

CHDI convened policymakers, state agencies, stakeholders, families, and providers to advance the goals of the State’s Behavioral Health Plan for Children and Connecting Children and Families to Care initiative. Our insights, research, and solutions helped to inform the legislative session and lay the groundwork for investments in the behavioral health workforce, Connecticut’s crisis and intermediate levels of care, school mental health, alternative payment strategies, and using data and measurement-based care to improve efficiencies and outcomes.

Evidence-Based and Best Practice Dissemination 

More than 2,400 children received an evidence-based treatment disseminated by CHDI, including TF-CBT, MATCH-ADTC, CBITS, Bounce Back, ARC, and CPP. Since we began this work over a decade ago, these services have reached over 19,000 youth and their families. CHDI trained 274 new clinicians to deliver an evidence-based treatment. We also increased the accessibility of EBTs for young children by completing the sixth and final year of the Early Child Trauma Collaborative.

Comprehensive School Mental Health 

CHDI engaged 207 schools in initiatives to promote student and staff well-being and shared a variety of resources to address students’ trauma and behavioral health needs. CHDI school mental health initiatives include SHAPE, the School-Based Diversion Initiative, CBITS and Bounce Back, and Project AWARE. We launched an asynchronous online Comprehensive School Mental Health training portal. CHDI continues to co-lead Connecticut’s statewide Trauma-Informed School Mental Health Task Force.

Quality Improvement and Measurement-Based Care 

CHDI continues to promote service quality, model fidelity, access to care, and effective outcomes for several statewide initiatives and evidence-based treatments, including SBDI, Mobile Crisis Intervention Services, and Care Coordination. Mobile Crisis provided 13,328 episodes of care for 10,090 children and their families, a 26% increase over last year. Mobile Crisis providers achieved a statewide mobility rate of 92.5%. In partnership with the Innovations Institute at the University of Connecticut’s School of Social Work, CHDI launched a national training and technical assistance center supporting mobile response implementation in six states. We also provided 23 outpatient community-based behavioral health facilities with continuous quality improvement and workforce development support.

Trauma-Informed Systems 

CHDI expanded our work to improve the early identification of children who have experienced traumatic stress and connect them to evidence-based treatments. We launched the online Trauma ScreenTIME training course (through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network) to help child-serving professionals and school staff implement best practices for screening children for trauma. In FY 2022, 251 child-serving staff completed a ScreenTIME training module resulting in 450 children screened for trauma and 238 receiving services. Additionally, the brief 10-question Child Trauma Screen (co-developed by CHDI), was used to screen 1,469 youth this year and 10,287 youth since 2015.

Looking ahead to 2023, all of us at CHDI feel the sense of urgency that comes with a deep commitment to the work. Youth continue to exhibit significant behavioral health needs, and the workforce in community-based clinics and schools remain under tremendous strain to meet those needs. To address this, we are convening statewide partners and developing a strategic plan to expand and diversify the children’s behavioral health workforce. We will support the expansion of mobile crisis services to 24/7/365 mobility. We are very excited about a significant expansion of our school mental health and quality improvement initiatives.

I am optimistic that by sparking collaboration, bringing research to practice, and using data to improve efficiency and inform strategic planning, we can help Connecticut build a better, more equitable, and more sustainable children’s behavioral health system. Together, we will achieve so much in 2023 and beyond.

With warmest holiday wishes, 

Jeffrey J. Vanderploeg, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Child Health and Development Institute