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Lessons from the Field: Head Start Mental Health Strategies to Meet Changing Needs
Hirokazu Yoshikawa and Jane Knitzer

This paper highlights promising strategies generated by Head Start programs to better meet the changing and intensifying mental health needs of Head Start children, families and staff. It is intended to foster program-to-program learning from within the Head Start community, focusing on how programs infuse a mental health perspective into Head Start. These strategies are also designed to stimulate an open dialogue about difficult issues that often go unaddressed, such as skepticism about traditional mental health treatment methods, or the depth of need among some Head Start families, or where to find funding for mental health services. Finally, Lessons from the Field is intended to spur communication and collaborative partnerships between the mental health and the Head Start communities, as well as others, such as family support programs or substance abuse providers working with low-income families with complex needs.

(Excerpted from information in Lessons from the Field:  Head Start Mental Health Strategies to Meet Changing Needs, 1997, found on the website of the National Center for Children in Poverty, http://www.nccp.org, and used with the permission of the National Center for Children in Poverty)


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Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.