Not Just a Walk in the Park: Efficacy to Effectiveness for After School Programs in Communities of Concentrated Urban Poverty
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This study examined a model for mental health consultation, training and support designed to enhance the benefits of publicly-funded recreational after-school programs in communities of concentrated urban poverty for children’s academic, social, and behavioral functioning. We assessed children’s mental health needs and examined the feasibility and impact of intervention on program quality and children’s psychosocial outcomes in three after-school sites (n = 15 staff, 89 children), compared to three demographically-matched sites that received no intervention (n = 12 staff, 38 children). Findings revealed high staff satisfaction and feasibility of intervention, and modest improvements in observed program quality and staff-reported children’s outcomes. Data are considered with a public health lens of mental health promotion for children in urban poverty.
KeywordsEfficacy to effectiveness Urban poverty After school Mental health promotion
This work was funded by a National Institute of Mental Health R34 grant MH-070637. The second author was supported during this work by a NIDA T32 grant DA-007293. The authors gratefully acknowledge William E. Pelham for his consultation on this work, and Christine Van Gessel, Christine A. Kesselring, Markeita King, Aaron Lyon, and Easter Young for their extraordinary efforts in recruitment and data collection. The authors also extend their gratitude to the social work students and psychology interns who contributed extensive time and effort to this work, and to the families and staff at the after school programs for their candid feedback and enthusiastic participation.
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