Stakeholder Perspectives on a Toolkit to Enhance Caregiver Participation in Community-Based Child Mental Health Services

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Client engagement in services is a critical element of effective community-based child and family mental health service delivery. Caregiver engagement is particularly important, as caregivers often serve as gatekeepers to child mental health care and typically must consent for services, facilitate service attendance, and are often the target of intervention themselves. Unfortunately, caregiver engagement has been identified as a significant challenge in community-based child mental health services. To address this gap, the Parent And Caregiver Active Participation Toolkit (PACT), which includes therapist training and participation tools for caregivers and therapists, was developed. Stakeholders’ perspectives regarding the delivery of interventions designed to improve the quality and effectiveness of community-based care are essential to understanding the implementation of such interventions in routine service settings. As such, this mixed methods study examined the perspectives of 12 therapists, 8 caregivers, and 6 program managers who participated in a community-based randomized pilot study of PACT. Therapists, caregivers, and program managers agreed that PACT was acceptable, appropriate, and feasible to use in community settings and that both changes in therapist practices and caregiver participation resulted from implementing PACT. Some variable perceptions in the utility of the therapist training components were identified, as well as barriers and facilitators of PACT implementation. Results expand the parent pilot study’s findings as well as complement and expand the literature on training community providers in evidence-based practices.

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