Document Type


Publication Date

January 2003


Mentally ill children -- Services for, Parents of mentally ill children -- Services for, Work and family, Child care


Approximately 10% of American children experience an emotional or behavioral disorder that causes some level of impairment in their development, learning, or functioning in daily life, and the numbers of those affected appear to be growing (U.S. Public Health Service, 2000). With the entry of many family caregivers into the workforce, increasing numbers of children with these challenges are enrolling in child care settings that offer services to infants, toddlers, young children, or school aged youth (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). Child care settings can provide a unique opportunity to address the needs of children with emotional or behavioral challenges and their families, by fostering the children's social and emotional development and by providing links with mental health and family support services (Cohen & Kaufman, 2000; Knitzer, 2000; President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, 2003). However, interviews with parents of children having mental health needs convinced our research team that finding and maintaining child care arrangements is extremely difficult for these families (Rosenzweig, Brennan, & Ogilvie, 2002). This monograph reports on an investigation of child care programs that have successfully served families of children with emotional or behavioral challenges in a fully inclusive way. Our research team defined inclusion as the delivery of comprehensive services to children with emotional and behavioral challenges in settings that have children without these disorders, and the participation of all children in the same activities, with variations in the activities for those children whose needs dictate the adaptation (Kontos, Moore, & Georgetti, 1998).


The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the funding agencies.

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