Current Environment:

Reaching children in the right setting at the right time

Behavioral health disorders are estimated to occur in 15 million children and adolescents in the U.S., with annual treatment costs approximating $40 billion. Despite effective treatments, because of the protracted shortage of child-trained behavioral health specialists, many youths with psychiatric disorders receive no services or receive services in settings (schools, primary care) where behavioral health expertise may be limited. Untreated or inadequately treated child psychiatric disorders persist over decades, become increasingly intractable to treatment, and incur progressively greater social, educational, and economic consequences over time.

Our approach

Integrated partnerships between behavioral health and pediatric practitioners and care coordinators have the potential to enhance the quality of behavioral health care in pediatric settings, thereby substantially extending the behavioral health workforce. Based upon the chronic care model, behavioral health integration employs multidisciplinary teams to address whole person needs in medical homes.

Boston Children’s has a rich history of behavioral health integration – over 40 years in pediatric specialty care and over 5 years in pediatric primary care involving over 60 behavioral health clinicians. These initiatives have been shown to greatly enhance access to and quality of behavioral health care, promote innovation, and foster professional satisfaction through heightened interprofessional collaboration, communication, and coordination.

Current partnerships with external child-serving organizations

Building bridges of understanding - Behavioral health education for pediatric practitioners