The Resilience Project: Addressing Mental Health Concerns for Young Children
Special Projects Fund
November 16, 2006
More than 30% of rural Cayuga County children in kindergarten through grade three have emerging mental health and behavior problems that could be addressed effectively through early intervention.
Access to mental health services in rural areas, however, is hampered by chronic poverty, limited insurance coverage, a shortage of mental health professionals, limited transportation, and great distances between health care access points. To improve early mental health intervention services to high-risk rural children, the Resilience Project—previously attempted only in urban schools—was implemented in the four largest rural school districts in Cayuga County: Port Byron, Union Springs, Jordan-Elbridge, and Cato. Paraprofessional mentors, closely supervised by a mental health clinician, used standardized resilience mentoring techniques to promote positive social, behavioral, and emotional development among high-risk children shown to have emerging behavioral and social-emotional problems in kindergarten through third grade. The results of the treatment groups indicated that the children had substantial and statistically significant improvements across three measures (assertiveness, behavior control, and task orientation), but no change in the fourth (peer sociability).
More than 30% of Cayuga County’s children in grades K-3 have mental health and behavioral problems that can be effectively addressed through early intervention. This grant to Partnership for Results, Inc. supports The Resilience Project: A Rural Expansion of a Mental Health Early Intervention Program for Elementary School Children.
The Resilience Project improves early mental health intervention services by expanding the capacity of a science-based, mental health early intervention program. Major project activities include: (1) screening of children (in grades K-3) in four rural upstate New York school districts for developing mental health and behavior problems; and (2) providing skill development sessions by trained paraprofessionals that focus on behavior control, peer sociability skills, self-confidence, and emotional coping skills. The Partnership for Results is a nonprofit agency whose principal mission is to foster the positive social, emotional, and academic development of at-risk children and youth.