The LAUNCH project promotes the emotional, social, and behavioral health of young children, by enhancing early childhood service systems and promoting integration of early childhood mental health into pediatric medical homes. Researchers at the IHESJR have been evaluating its efficacy since 2009.
This project is led by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and is being evaluated by researchers at IHESJR under the direction of Dr. Beth Molnar. The LAUNCH project promotes the emotional, social, and behavioral health of young children (ages birth to 8 years) by enhancing early childhood service systems, providing family-focused care and promoting integration of mental health into pediatric medical homes. The MDPH has worked closely with the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) as the local partner to enhance local systems of care for Massachusetts children since 2009. The project helps these community health care sites improve the quality of their pediatric practices, integrate new early childhood mental health services with ongoing pediatric care, and assure linkage of medical homes with other community programs that serve children. Through funding a family partner and a mental health clinician at each site, who provide family support and parent training, this project provides enhanced direct services to families experiencing child abuse or neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, maternal depression or other parental mental health problems.
Evaluation results from the first Project LAUNCH grant (2009-2014) found evidence of efficacy as both children and caregivers who scored in age-specific clinically significant ranges of social, emotional and behavioral problems at Time 1 scored in the normal range on average by Time 3. Caregivers’ stress and depressive symptoms also declined across the three time points. Results support hypotheses that the LAUNCH intervention improved social and emotional health for children and caregivers. A peer-reviewed article in the Maternal and Child Health Journal describing this study is free to access at this link. Currently, the LAUNCH project is being implemented and evaluated in expansion communities through 2019. More about the Project LAUNCH model including a downloadable toolkit can be found at ECMHMatters.org.
Molnar BE, Lees K, Roper K, Byars N, Mendez-Penate L, Moulin C, McMullen W, Wolfe J, Allen D. Enhancing early childhood mental health primary care services: Evaluation of MA Project LAUNCH. Journal of Maternal & Child Health 2018; 22(10): 1502-1510.