ICF International was awarded a series of contracts by SAMHSA to conduct the national evaluation of the Children's Mental Health Initiative (CMHI), which was designed to respond to a critical lack of available treatment services for children affected by serious emotional disorders. The CMHI involves provision of a broad array of community-based services and supports to children and their families, enabling them to stay in their communities and in their homes.
Since 1994, ICF has conducted this multimethod, multisite evaluation of 173 grantees that were awarded funding in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., 23 tribes and tribal organizations, and 2 territories to develop systems of care to provide coordinated mental health services and to support children with serious mental health challenges and their families. In 1993, ICF staff also conducted an evaluation design for the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program.
The national evaluation consists of six core studies, including grantee-implemented descriptive data collection on children receiving services and a local implementation of a national outcome and service experience longitudinal study protocol with children and their adult caregivers at six-month follow-up intervals out to 24 months. To date, data have been collected on more than 113,000 children. Evaluation components collect data on infrastructure development, service recipients, child and family outcomes, service delivery, costs, and sustainability.
Grantee data collection is supported by a laptop and web-based data collection and management system. In order to manage and use the extensive data gathered through this project, we developed an efficient and largely automated data management and reporting system, which includes data cleaning and systematic quality assessment of the data collection efforts implemented at each grantee. Each year, ICF prepares a Short Report for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day that describes how SAMHSA is addressing critical issues in children’s mental health.
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