Behavioral & Mental Health In-service Materials


Recommendation from a CAC volunteer: "Excellent book about a family, schizophrenia, trauma, treatments, and family dynamics."

The heartrending story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease.


The Connecticut Children’s Health Brief series provides data-driven findings and recommendations to inform best practice and policy to strengthen families and promote optimal outcomes for all children. The series features work from Connecticut Children’s researchers, clinicians and program leaders that addresses the medical, social, environmental, and behavioral factors that directly impact child health, development and well-being. This work has the potential to have a broad and lasting influence on critical contemporary issues in children’s health such as obesity, asthma, sexually transmitted diseases, behavioral health disorders, and child abuse. It also serves to inform policy, advance equity and reduce disparities.

Questions about the Connecticut Children’s Health Brief series can be directed to


 ‘They’re deeper into crisis:’ Doctors worry about mental health toll of pandemic isolation on children and teens, increased risk of suicide

Hartford Courant article on 1/16/21

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, doctors and other mental health professionals worry about the impacts of prolonged isolation and stress on children and teens, including an increased risk of suicide.


Book by Jennifer Cohen Harper: Thank You Mind: Understanding My Big Feelings On Tricky Days 

In Jennifer Cohen Harper’s newest release, Thank You Mind: Understanding My Big Feelings On Tricky Days, she helps children learn how awareness, self-compassion and positive self-talk can be powerful tools even on their trickiest days. It also includes meaningful tips for caregivers to support kids as they navigate their big feelings. 

Childhood is filled with intense emotions. And it should be. But when kids are overwhelmed by tricky emotions, they sometimes try to push them away or become reactive. By exploring a wide range of emotions—anger, joy, sadness, awe, and more—children can discover how their mind can help them make sense of their emotional experiences.

“With Thank You Mind, Jenn Cohen Harper brings kids (and their adults) on another empowering journey through our daily emotional landscapes, and all the challenges and joys along the way.” -- Chris Willard, PsyD, author of Breathing Makes it Better and Growing Up Mindful


Report: Supporting Social-Emotional and Mental Health Needs of Young Children

Koleen Kerski from Birth to Three, who presented at CAC's 11/16/20 in-service, followed up with this information regarding infant mental health/social-emotional support. Click the link above to access the November 2020 report: Supporting Social-Emotional and Mental Health Needs of Young Children Through Part C Early Intervention: RESULTS OF A 50-STATE SURVEY

This report examines features of states’ Part C Early Intervention (EI) programs that help them identify and serve infants and toddlers with social-emotional (SE) delays and mental health conditions. A 50-state survey conducted by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) and Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) asked state Part C Coordinators about their programs’ policies and procedures related to screening, evaluation, eligibility, services, and financing that affect the program’s capacity to meet the SE needs of infants and toddlers.


CT Public Health Alert: Teen Suicide - A Call to Action

The Child & Family Guidance Center: The State of Connecticut's Suicide Advisory Board recently released a Public Health Alert on teen suicide and the impact of these uncertain times: “Tragically, in the past four weeks Connecticut has lost four young teens to suicide. We share this alert so that during these uncertain times youth collectively receive increased support, and so adults understand that right now youth are: 1) Struggling with feelings of uncertainty, 2) Feeling isolated and lonely 3) Experiencing losses and grief 4) Needing increased mental health support 5) Impacted by world events.”

The Child & Family Guidance Center's Mobile Crisis Intervention Services (MCIS) clinicians are on the front lines, providing emergency support to Fairfield County youth in psychiatric distress. Our clinicians, in MCIS and in all our Behavioral Health programs, are here to help.

If you think your child needs an emergency mental health assessment, call Connecticut's 2-1-1 line — available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are concerned about your child's behavior call us directly at [tel://(203) 394-6529](203) 394-6529.


Homelessness Can Traumatize A Young Child For Life; Collaborative Seeks To End The Consequences

From CT Public Radio: The repercussions of being homeless as a child younger than 6 can be lifelong, and the strain often shows in their speech, behavior, development and health, according to child-care workers and experts.

They may be nonverbal, or act out. They’re often sick, but may not have a pediatrician. They may not even know how to brush their teeth. “The impact on these young children is gigantic,” said Darcy Lowell, chief executive of Child First. Based in Trumbull, the agency provides counseling and practical help to families in their homes, and in homeless and domestic violence shelters. 

Now, the state, children’s advocates and housing organizations are participating in an initiative that focuses specifically on pregnant women and children under 6 who are homeless or housing unstable. The three-year, $1 million collaborative intends to prevent homelessness and collect data, with the hope of avoiding lifelong problems and costly remedies.



 Materials from CAC's In-Service at Child and Family Guidance Center in Bridgeport

At this in-service we learned about the wide range of programs and resources offered by CFGC and how to access them for our clients).

  • Brochure (in English) on Care Coordination, a family focused program that uses the Wraparound team model to provide families with Help, Healing, and Hope for a better future

  • Brochure (in Spanish) - same as above but in Spanish

  • Care Coordination Referral Form

Some of the programs offered by CFGC include: 

  • Community Support for Families

  • Multi Systemic Therapy (MST) (in home intensive therapeutic program for adolescents and their families)

  • Adolescent Substance Abuse Program

  • Functional Family Therapy Program (short-term, intensive intervention program designed for families with 11- to 18-year-old youth who have been referred for behavioral or emotional problems by the juvenile justice, mental health, school, or child welfare systems)

  • Outpatient Behavioral Health

  • Emergency Mobile Crisis Services

If you think any of these programs might be appropriate for a child in your case, please discuss with your Program Director.


When the World Didn’t End: Poems by Caroline Kaufman

Teen Instagram sensation and author of Light Filters In @poeticpoison returns with a second collection of short, powerful poems about love, forgiveness, self-discovery, and what it’s like living after a hard-fought battle with depression, in the vein of poetry collections like Milk and Honey and the princess saves herself in this one.


Materials from CAC Inservice by St. Vincent's Behavioral Health Outpatient Services

Materials from CAC Inservice on 4/24/19 featuring Deidre Romeo, Program Manager, and Betsie Bergman, Team Lead, from St. Vincent's Behavioral Health Outpatient Services.


PDF includes:

  • St. Vincent's Behavioral Heath Services at-a-glance handout

  • St. Vincent's Behavioral Heath Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) overview

  • Reference list of 2019 Mental Health & Substance Use Public & Nonprofit Resources, Greenwich-Stamford-Norwalk areas

  • Contact information for Deidre and Betsie


How to Discuss Your Mental Health With Family Members Who Don’t Get It

New York Times article by Concepción de León

Lett me know if any of these sound familiar: Boys don’t cry. We don’t air family business. You have to be strong. Turn to God.


These refrains... are just some of the responses that people dealing with mental health challenges in Latino communities have come to know well. Going to therapy or struggling with mental illness can be viewed as a sign of weakness or that you’re “crazy.” Combine this with unequal access to mental health services and quality health insurance, and it’s no wonder that Latinos, who are just as likely to suffer from a mental illness as whites, are half as likely to seek treatment.


Soul crushing. PTSD symptoms showing up in more than half of Children's Services workers

By Terry DeMio, Cincinnati Enquirer

A recent study shows that 53 percent of Ohio's children's services caseworkers have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. That compares with national incidences that range from 35 percent to 75 percent of child-welfare staff.


A national research study is underway to help with the recruitment and retention of child-welfare staff nationwide. That's where the PTSD finding came from. The project is headed by the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development, which is partnering with the U.S. Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau in a five-year, federally funded project.


Report from the Office of the Child Advocate examining circumstances leading to the death by suicide of a 16 year old girl at the Albert J. Solnit Center Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility on June 28, 2018

The OCA's report outlines concerns from state inspectors at the Department of Public Health and the Department of Social Services regarding a multiple suicidal incidents at the Solnit S. PRTF from November 2017 through July 2018: 7 suicide attempts and 1 suicide in June. DPH made multiple findings during this time that deficiencies at Solnit S. PRTF rose to the level of creating an "immediate jeopardy" of harm to children in the facility and that a mandated plan of correction was required to improve safety and treatment planning for residents.

OCA's report examines the oversight structure for this state-run facility and other child-serving treatment programs. OCA concludes that the state lacks an effective and transparent framework for ensuring safe and high quality care at Solnit and at other child-serving treatment facilities, and OCA is recommending to the legislature that immediate steps be taken to revise state law, where applicable, to begin the process of creating a more transparent and accountable service delivery system for vulnerable children and their families. 


Utilizing DCF's Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service (EMPS) Resources - Mobile Crisis Intervention Services for Children and Adolescents

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services have teamed up to present a six webinar series "Meeting the Needs of Your Clients: Building Competencies in Mental Health and Addiction Services". The Utilizing DCF's Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service (EMPS) Resources webinar is the fourth webinar of the series.

The Presenter: Tim Marshall, LCSW, Director, Office of Community Mental Health, Department of Children and Families


Click Here for the powerpoint presentation.


60 Minutes story by Oprah about trauma informed treatment

Treating childhood trauma

Oprah Winfrey reports on how trauma plays a role in childhood development and what new methods are being used to help kids who have experienced it.


PowerPoint Presentation from CAC's 2/9/18 in-service on PTSD 

PowerPoint Presentation from CAC's 2/9/18 in-service on PTSD by Kat Lee, MA, CCLS, RDT with the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Center.

Related materials:

The CDC-Kaiser ACE Study: 

The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being.

"Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults," published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 1998, Volume 14, pages 245–258.


Treating the Lifelong Harm of Childhood Trauma

NYTimes Op-Ed by David Bornstein

Over the past decade, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, in Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco, has emerged as one of the country’s strongest voices calling for a national public health campaign to raise awareness and a sense of urgency about the devastating and potentially lifelong health effects of childhood trauma.

Since the original research on adverse childhood experiences, known as the ACE Study, was published in 1998, a growing body of evidence has indicated that severe or prolonged levels of childhood adversity (often measured in terms of an “ACE score” ranging from 0 to 10) are far more common and harmful than has been appreciated. Dr. Burke Harris, a pediatrician, has led in developing methods to screen and treat children and families suffering health problems attributable to what is known as toxic stress.


An Issue Brief from the Tow Youth Justice Institute: Long term effects of Trauma on a Child's Development

Science has confirmed the damaging effects of trauma on a child's brain and the relevance and importance of good mental health. As a child's brain architecture is being built, early experiences and toxic environments are major determinants of the capacity of a child's later functioning. But as children grow, they encounter increasingly complex tasks and demands. Like the structure of a house, the brain needs to become functional in a variety of ways to accommodate new expectations and demands. The experiences and environments that adolescents have available to them become the building materials that allow them to adjust to new demands, to support new skills, and to become reliable members of society. Each year in the United States, more than 6 million referrals are made to the child welfare system and more than 600,000 of these children are determined to be substantiated victims of abuse or neglect.


Trauma May Have Fallout Over Generations

NYTimes article by Nicholas Bakalarnor

The daughters of women exposed to childhood trauma are at increased risk for serious psychiatric disorders, a new study concludes.


Center for Children's Advocacy - Seminar and Webinar: Chemical Strait Jackets: Are Children in State Care Over-Medicated? 

Dr. Nikolov's and Dr. Loftus's PowerPoint presentation, and the event page can be found here

The seminar featured:  

  • Sara Bartosz, Deputy Director of Litigation Strategy, Children’s Rights, NY

  • Mirela Loftus, MD, PhD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Institute of Living, Hartford, CT

  • Roumen Nikolov, MD, Medical Director, Albert J. Solnit Psychiatric Center, CT Department of Children and Families

Related articles:

  • Psychotropic Medication and Children in Foster Care, ABA Center on Children and the Law, 2011

  • California Moves to Stop Misuse of Psychiatric Meds in Foster Care, National Public Radio, 2015


Supporting Brain Development in Traumatized Children and Youth

This is a bulletin from the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Studies indicate when children feel unsafe or threatened, their brain development may be negatively impacted with long-lasting effects on their learning ability as well as their social, emotional, and behavioral development. Additionally, their risk for developing mental health disorders such as depression, posttraumatic stress, anxiety, bipolar disorder and others significantly increases. Child welfare professionals have an opportunity to identify this early
childhood trauma—either chronic or acute—and respond with early intervention that can offset the negative consequences.


Issue brief: Addressing Students' Mental Health Needs:

Stamford Public Schools' Comprehensive Trauma-Informed System

From Sarah Eagan, State of CT Office of the Child Advocate:

In 2014, following a series of student suicides, Stamford Public Schools began looking at ways they could better support students' behavioral health and well being. 

They contacted the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI) to help review the district's strengths and areas of concern and began building a trauma-informed model for school mental health that is resulting in better outcomes for students. This Issue Brief explores the process, strategies and lessons learned by Stamford Public Schools which can help guide other districts seeking to improve their mental health services and supports.


Seminar/webinar: Sexting: Social, emotional trauma – legal, educational, career consequences.

From the Center for Children's Advocacy

Like other online content, texts and images do not go away.  For teens who sext, there are legal,  emotional, educational and long-term career consequences.  There is enormous trauma for adolescents  whose privacy is violated.  The issues are complex, the images are permanent, and the consequences are real.  

Click on the link above for the recorded webinar and CCA attorney Leon Smith's presentation, Sexting and Cyberbullying: What Does the Law Say? (once you land on the linked page, look in the middle of the page for links to the webinar recording and powerpoint presentation).