Bright Futures at Georgetown University
photo collage
Top Navigation

Bright Futures and a Systems of Care Approach

Across the country, schools, early childhood, public health, and mental health are seeking ways to collaborate to promote the social and emotional well-being of all children, families and communities. Georgetown University has developed a cross-agency training curriculum using Bright Futures and Systems of Care principles to introduce a public health approach to mental health.

Since its inception, Georgetown University partnered with a number of states to deliver this innovative training to well over two thousand school nurses, guidance counselors, early childhood professionals, social workers, families, public health professionals, and community mental health service providers. Working in community-based teams, participants will enhance their own skills and learn how to build community service delivery systems through interactive learning sessions, case studies, and planning opportunities.

Goals of theTraining are to:

  • Understand a public health approach to mental health.
  • Apply the concepts of early identification, intervention, collaboration, family engagement, and cultural competence in their work.
  • Identify gaps in connecting early childhood schools, public health, and mental health to support children’s social and emotional well-being.
  • Explore how a community team approach can improve service delivery for children and families, and identify best practices for building community partnerships.
  • Learn how to utilize Bright Futures developmental tools to promote the social and emotional well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and families in multiple service settings.
  • Develop strategies that will enable service providers to create a community-wide referral network and implement “facilitated referral” practices.

Georgetown also works with states and communities to sustain the momentum created by the trainings. By bringing together the strengths and expertise of families, early childhood schools, public health and mental health through ongoing training and technical assistance, states can foster community service delivery systems that build the resilience of children, families, and communities.

Georgetown’s Initiative has three distinct phases.

Phase I includes consultation with state leaders to develop customized training using Bright Futures within a system of care framework. Training materials include the Bright Futures in Practice: Mental Health Guide and Toolkit and the Bright Futures What to Expect and When to Seek Help Developmental Tools.

Phase II includes continued consultation with state leaders to create a collaborative statewide training and technical assistance capacity to implement the vision of a public health approach for mental health. Georgetown University will help states identify and build on existing structures, capacity, and leadership to support change. In Missouri for example, future plans include creating innovation zones to develop integrated school-based, community-linked, services and supports for all children and partnering with the University of Missouri Center for the Advancement of Mental Health Practices in Schools to provide ongoing training and technical assistance.

Phase III includes working intensively with teams from selected communities on locally identified challenges. Georgetown University designs a forum where community leadership teams develop a strategic action plan and receive customized technical assistance that addresses their community challenge. These early adopters of the public health approach to mental health will serve as catalysts for statewide transformation.

For additional information contact:

Ellen B. Kagen, M.S.W.
Georgetown University
National Technical Assistance Center
for Children’s Mental Health
Box 571485
Washington, DC 20057-1485


Neal Horen, Ph.D.
Georgetown University
National Technical Assistance Center
for Children’s Mental Health
Box 571485
Washington, DC 20057-1485

Home About Contact Distance Learning Questions Search EPSDT Online Materials Online Tools