VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Risk, Prevention, and Intervention: Getting a Head Start through Therapeutic Day Treatment Services in Head Start Programs
Josephine Kim, Lisa Danylchuk, Kathy Rho, Kristen Shealy, and Christa Thiel
Head Start is a comprehensive service delivery program, serving low-income children
between the ages of three and five years old (Lopez, Tarullo, Forness, & Boyce, 2000).
Staff in Head Start programs work with the nation’s poorest children, often minority,who
face serious disadvantages and risk factors such as substance abuse, depression, divorce, homelessness, and community and domestic violence. Growing up in poverty, Head Start children are at high risk for academic, behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric difficulties, emphasizing the importance of focusing on the socio-emotional development and adjustment of young children (Lopez et al., 2000; Jellinek, Bishop-Josef, Murphy, & Zigler, 2005).
Head Start programs are required to screen for mental health concerns so that identification and intervention can take place as early as possible (Jellinek et al., 2005). However, many mental health consultants who assist in this screening assess children at the beginning of the year, and often times do not follow up unless requested by Head Start staff (Jellinek et al., 2005). Many Head Start programs have limited psychological and socio-emotional support components. This is troubling given that the rate of mental health problems, including moderate to severe psychosocial impairment, among Head Start children has been estimated to be between 16-29% (Jellinek et al., 2005). Thus, “…ignoring or minimizing this aspect of the [Head Start] program fails to meet the needs of a substantial number of children” (Jellinek et al., 2005).