Behavioral Health

Improving social and emotional outcomes for all children, youth and their families and improving access to quality care for those with mental health challenges requires effective policies, well designed systems, and appropriate services.  Underlying our efforts are a set of core principles and values that define effective practice:

  1. family-driven and youth-guided,
  2. strength-based,
  3. individualized,
  4. developmentally appropriate,
  5. least restrictive,
  6. community-based, and
  7. culturally and linguistically competent

Our Center has a commitment to address the behavioral health needs of underserved individuals including individuals with disabilities and co-occurring mental health problems, parents with disabilities, young children, children and families experiencing trauma and toxic stress, and children with special health care needs.  For many years, the Center’s work has focused on the promotion of positive mental health and treatment for all children through the creation of integrated community systems that assure needed services, supports and evidenced based interventions. We have advanced practice at the system level by addressing policy, financing, and cross-sector collaborations; at the program level through implementing best practices, outcome measurement, management strategies, and engaging in workforce development; and at the individual level by offering mental health consultation services and training. The Center partners with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital on selected activities to address behavioral health.


Selected Activities

Community and Clinical Services

  • Center for Innovation in School-Based Mental Health The Center for Innovation in School-Based Mental Health is located in the Department of Psychiatry at Georgetown University is currently developing innovative programming to bring high-quality mental health prevention and treatment services to schools serving low-income urban children and youth.
  • DC Early Childhood Innovation Network
  • H.O.Y.A. clinic in the Department of Psychiatry. The H.O.Y.A. clinic provides individual and family therapy for children and their families from birth to adolescence.

Research and Evaluation

  • DC Social Emotional and Early Development (SEED) Project
    A four year Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Cooperative Agreement was awarded to the DC Department of Behavioral Health in 2016 to address the needs of young children (birth-6) who were at-risk for or diagnosed with serious emotional disturbance (SED). GUCCHD led a mixed methods evaluation to support the project's. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the community-based clinical teams shifted to delivering early childhood mental health treatment services via telehealth. The evaluation team helped document these innovations in a published paper.

Technical Assistance

Workforce Development

Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development is a designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.