Expanding the Movement for Healthy Child/Youth Development Initiatives


To assist states and districts in their efforts to implement and sustain school-connected social, emotional, and behavioral health supports for youth and children, CHHCS spent three years exploring both state-level and community-level factors that are associated with successful program adoption and implementation.

In the first two years of the study, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHHCS interviewed key informants in nine states that either had successful statewide social and emotional learning (SEL) regulations or had districts that were part of the Collaborating School Districts Initiative, an SEL project launched by CASEL. A total of 44 key informants were interviewed across the nine states and common themes, strategies, and opinions were identified from the notes from all participants.

In the second phase of this study (2014 – 2015), CHHCS identified and engaged four successful community groups in select locations across the country to deepen understanding of the best methods for expanding and sustaining school-connected social, emotional, and behavioral health supports for children and youth. The communities chosen for these conversations were Vancouver, WA, Northern New Jersey, Broome County, NY, and Baltimore, MD. CHHCS organized several “community meetings” with the identified groups to learn what has worked and what has not been effective; the challenges that were faced and how they were overcome; and what resources, supports, or other factors were crucial to their success or that they wished had been in place.

Building off of the earlier work identifying state stakeholders’ perceived supports and challenges to local implementation of such approaches, the goal of this project was to uncover practices that work at the local level and to ultimately enhance the effective implementation of school-connected social and emotional, and behavioral health supports by building commitment to systems change.

The results of the work are being disseminated through a webinar and report, informing the issue briefs written for select target audiences, and unique case studies for each participating community that tie back to the themes presented in the Center’s Partner Build Grow Action Guide on sustaining school-connected social, emotional, and behavioral health initiatives. Completed products are available below.


Case Studies

Northern New Jersey: Collaborative Helps Middle School Students Feel Safer, Happier

Baltimore, Maryland: Creating a Coalition to Improve School Climate

Broome County, New York: Using Communication Strategies to Build and Retain Support for Student Services

Vancouver, Washington: Strengthening Neighborhoods Through Student Resilience

Additional information on case studies is available at Partner Build Grow


Sustaining School-Community Resources