Essay Writing Sample: Review of Early Mental Health Promotion and Intervention Programs
Creator: KidsMatter was developed in partnership with the Australian Psychological Society, the Commonwealth Government Department of Health, beyondblue, Principals Australia Institute, and Early Childhood Australia.
Components of the program: There are four components to the program; this includes developing children’s social and emotional skills, creating a sense of community, working with parents, as well as helping children with mental health problems (KidsMatter, 2017). Considering that these programs are being administered to young children, the programs largely depend on the involvement of parents to ensure that the program is as successful as it needs to be (KidsMatter, 2017). Therefore, either group or individual sessions with the specialists could help work out some of the issues.
What research informs the structure of the program? The Early Childhood Framework, in this case, is formed by evidence regarding the mental health of young children. In fact, most of the practices and foundations of the program are evidence-based. In that regard, the program drew upon internationally-recognized research in the field which involved an understanding of risk and protective factors, prevention, promotion and early intervention program, and the socio-ecological model (KidsMatter, 2017). The social-ecological approach recognizes that parents, family, and schools have a significant influence on children. Other theories that the program borrows from include the theory of attachment, which assists children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (KidsMatter FAQs, 2017). Consequently, most of the activities undertaken mostly focused on behavioural changes and the ability to initiate these changes.
Who delivers the program? Psychiatrists are largely involved in the intervention programs since they have a greater understanding of the subject. Other than that, trained specialists trained in the subject deliver the lessons to children with the level of expertise required. Parents may also be involved in the delivery of the program since they have a close connection to young children, therefore, have a greater opportunity of succeeding in the subject (KidsMatter FAQs, 2017).
Who is the Audience: The audience of the program depends on the issue at hand, and the intervention used to remedy the issue. For instance, while some of the programs may be directed at children, some of them could be focused on parents with a specific issue at hand, which may actively affect the mental well-being of the children (KidsMatter, 2017). Basically, the target audience would be anyone that is interested including new staff, interested education, as well as health and community personnel. Nevertheless, the target audience will mostly be the parents due to their close connection with children.
Evaluation of Impact: The main objectives of the program, in this case, is to ensure that children disorders could be intervened with at the early stages to ensure that they could associate with the community well. The external evaluation of the initiative showed that people working with children are in a position to implement evidence-based mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention practices (KidsMatter FAQs, 2017). Children experiencing mental health difficulties have largely benefitted from such a program, in fact, the risk of ongoing issues throughout life are addressed appropriately.
Strengths of the program: The program enjoys a number of advantages/strengths especially regarding research. For instance, it enjoys huge financial support from the government of Australia; it also works in collaboration with the largest research institute in South Australia with a focus on multidisciplinary research relating to Australian educational features (KidsMatter FAQs, 2017).
Challenges of the program: component 3 and 4 in the program, working with parents, as well as helping children exhibiting difficulties in their mental health, were difficult to implement in many cases due to associated complications.
The Early Head Start child promotion program
Creator: Jule Sugarman was its creator and first director.
Components of the program: The program is composed of pre-school education health screenings, health check-ups, and family-specific services (Head Start, 2017). The program also takes different options and initiative including the EHS-Child Care Partnership, a Family Childcare Program Option and the Home-Based Program Option (Del Grosso, Akers, Esposito & Paulsell, 2014).
What research informs the structure of the program? The structure of the program is largely informed by the theory of change, which could be interpreted to imply that arrangements between the Early Head Start Program and the Child care providers could be used to overcome some of the social challenges. The theory of change represents a range of inputs, activities outcomes and organization, as well as contextual factors that could guide early child care (Mathematica Policy Research, 2014). Research into the theory showed that these factors could be used to overcome issues like fostering strong family relationships and enhance the physical and emotional well-being of children.
Who delivers the program? Teachers with a bachelor of degree with about six courses in early childhood learning are hired to deliver the program objectives.
Who is the Audience: The program is specially designed to suit children from low-income families and can hardly afford premium services in private clinics and programs. However, the target audience may also depend on other specific factors like disabilities and services needed by other members of the family (Head Start, 2017).
Evaluation of Impact: The main objective of the program is to provide early childhood education, ensure parent involvement in the process, promote health and nutrition for children, and promote families of the children as well. The program is also expected to develop strong cognitive skills for children, enhance their physical and emotional well-being and stabilize their families (Head Start, 2017). In its evaluation, studies conducted have failed to produce academic consensus about its effectiveness.
Strengths of the program: It enjoys immense support from the government of the United States and has the ability to reach and influence the lives of millions of individuals living with disabilities.
Challenges of the program: In some studies, the promotional program has been observed to be ineffective for people. Some of the authors report that the program is less meaningful and unable to foster any significant effect on the lives of children.
Summary Sheet for Class
For this study, two programs have been selected for analysis, the KidsMatter Program and the Early Head Start child promotion program. Though the two programs operate in different countries and have different objectives, they all seek to promote the emotional well-being of the children. This is to imply that the two programs will work towards ensuring that the transition to elementary school is smooth for children with different disorders. While the KidsMatter program focuses on ensuring that the children can ease into the context of the society, the supporting framework differs largely from the one used in the other program. That is, KidsMatter program depends on evidence-based practices and borrows largely from theories such as the socio-ecological approach that recognizes the role played by parents and close members of the family in the early development of the child. However, the Early Head Start promotion program foundation lies on the theory of change. The theory of change combines a range of inputs, activities outcomes and organization, as well as contextual factors that could guide early child care.
The two programs also appear to differ in terms of their delivery considering that KidsMatter program seeks the counsel of specialists like psychiatrists individuals trained in service delivery and parents. The Early Head Start Child Program, on the other hand, is delivered by teachers conversant with early childhood development. Apparently, irrespective of the program undertaken, the same outcomes will be achieved in terms of overcoming the mental disorders of individuals. However, the largest disparities in the two programs are evident in their evaluation/effectiveness when implement. While the early intervention programs administered at KidsMatter are highly successful, the Early Head Start Child Program is not as successful since research results are highly inconclusive with both positive and negative results. In fact, some of the researchers have concluded that it is meaningless for children. On the contrary, it has also registered high levels of success in other cases. This shows that a more intensive research should be undertaken to improve it and ensure that it also enjoys high levels of success. In terms of their target audience, the only point of disparity is in the fact that the later program focuses on children from families that are not well off. However, it is clear that the two programs target children and families with specific issues and conditions. Consequently, it is evident that both of the programs are indispensable to the society since they serve a huge purpose in ensuring that children ease into their immediate society and community.
Del Grosso, P., Akers, L., Esposito, A. M., & Paulsell, D. (2014). Early care and education partnerships: A review of the literature
Head Start. (2017).
KidsMatter FAQs (2017).
Theory of Change for the Study of EHS-Child Care Partnership, Mathematica Policy Research (2014)