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What is The Consultation Center?

The Consultation Center is a university-based, community organization that offers a range of services, training and research to individuals, organizations, businesses and governmental agencies throughout Connecticut, the U.S. and internationally. The Center’s mission is to promote health and wellness, prevent mental health and substance abuse problems, and enhance equity and social justice in the communities it serves. Since its inception in 1976, the Center has been a collaborative endeavor of the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, the Connecticut Mental Health Center and The Consultation Center, Inc. (a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization).

Who works at The Center?

Center staff includes a combination of Yale faculty and staff, as well as staff from The Consultation Center, Inc. We have expertise in a wide array of areas including training, consultation, program and service system evaluation, research, professional development, community education, child and youth development, parenting, workplace wellness and targeted programming for adults, elder supports and services, substance abuse and its prevention, trauma, family and community violence, child maltreatment, community programs for formerly incarcerated youth and adults, and community and systems development. Our work draws upon our staff’s multiple perspectives from the disciplines of psychology, social work, public health, psychiatry, education, sociology, management, and administration.

Where does The Center’s work take place?

Our work takes place in schools, community organizations, government agencies, health care settings, businesses, universities, childcare agencies, senior centers, and neighborhood organizations.

What kind of work does The Center do?

Please find examples of several current projects in the list below.

Youth Development Training & Resource Center (YDTRC): YDTRC is a youth services organization that will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014. The organization primarily serves as a capacity building intermediary for individuals, programs, organizations, networks and funders. YDTRC offers special projects that focus on youth engagement and youth leadership development related to serious issues impacting young people such as police relations, alcohol and drugs and violence prevention.

The Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership: This program can often be the deciding factor that keeps students from dropping out of high school. GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a national initiative that began in 1999 with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Our program focuses on helping more than 2,800 students in Bridgeport, providing them with the skills and aspirations they need to graduate from high school and succeed in a productive, post-secondary educational option of their choice. The funding for this project targets students who are in the graduating classes of 2014 and 2017 and will follow those students from seventh grade through their freshman year in college.

Tauck Family Foundation Initiative: This collaborative project between Bridgeport Public Schools, the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence is aimed at promoting life skills and social emotional learning among elementary and middle school children. The initiative evaluates RULER, an evidence-based program developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, as well as an assessment system that supports the use of data for informing practice and policy. The project’s main goal is to understand how to best measure students’ social and emotional learning outcomes to support decision-making at the classroom, school, and district levels.

The Rhode Island Data Analytic Center: This program involves a public-academic partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families and Yale University. It includes monitoring of social services for children, adolescents, and families. Additionally, the data center examines current processes and outcomes of these services as a way to inform best practices, service enhancement, and policy development. The project also focuses on conducting field research and administrative studies aimed at answering critical questions about services and interventions that can lead to improvements in the lives of children and families. A number of the reports and documents produced through the Data Analytic Center can be found here: http://www.dcyf.ri.gov/data_evaluation.php

Family Violence Program: For nearly three decades, the Center has been a statewide leader in offering violence prevention services to adult offenders and victims of domestic violence. The Center focuses on understanding how women’s daily lives are impacted by the traumas they have been through, which can result in PTSD and/or substance abuse. By working collaboratively with The Greater New Haven Domestic Violence Task Force, Center staff aim to tackle these issues as a community. Each year, they also lead ongoing groups for male and female offenders, including individuals who are monolingual Spanish speaking. The Center’s research will ultimately lead to the development of programs for victims in the community.

Program and System Service Evaluation: Over the past 20 years, a team at The Consultation Center has partnered with states to evaluate their systems of care for children with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties. These evaluation efforts have included the establishment of state-wide performance indicator systems, longitudinal outcome studies, community-based participatory research efforts where Center faculty have partnered with service recipients to provide guidance to decision makers, and evaluations of specific program components. Center faculty and staff have received awards from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for their work in this area.

Philadelphia Community Health Project: This project is a comprehensive, multi-level assessment of adults in recovery from addiction and mental illness who are currently receiving behavioral health services in distressed Philadelphia neighborhoods. It includes a comparative evaluation of participatory public arts involvement in recovery and also looks at the role these arts play in neighborhood transformation. Please visit Porch Light Initiative, Mural Arts, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services for more information. To watch a recent YouTube video click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRLnKB9IRrk

Building Agency Capacity for Program Evaluation: This project is a tailored program of consultation and training that has spanned two years. Its aim is building program evaluation capacity in more than 20 agencies in Greater Philadelphia that serve individuals with behavioral health challenges. It also includes oversight of a Learning Collaborative for agencies that have completed the program to help them sustain their success.

Male Research and Program Initiatives: The Center’s work in this area focuses on trauma as it pertains to black males, fathers, low-income men and boys, men’s health and individuals impacted by criminal justice and child welfare systems. Specific initiatives include a mentoring program for young people who are transitioning from incarceration back to the community and who have also been identified as being involved in a gang.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Since 1995, this program has served as a critical resource for grandparents and other relatives who are raising children because the children’s biological parents are not able to do so. According to the AARP, across the U.S. almost 7.8 million children are living in homes where grandparents or other relatives are the primary caregivers. Our program offers a range of services for these caretakers including support groups, respite and social activities for families, information and referral services as well as legislative advocacy.

How many years has The Center been in operation?

The Consultation Center was established in 1976 as part of the West Haven Mental Health Clinic at the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC). The Consultation Center, Inc. was incorporated in 1978. In 1980, the Center became a collaborative endeavor of Yale, CMHC, and TCC, Inc.

How is The Center supported?

The Center receives funding from many sources – federal, state, private and fee for service. Funding support received over the past several years has come from the following sources:

Federal: Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Dept. of Education (USDOE).

State and Regional: Agency on Aging of South Central CT (AASCC), Bridgeport Board of Education, CT Dept. of Children and Families (DCF), CT Dept. of Higher Education (DHE), CT Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services (DMHAS), CT Dept. of Public Health (DPH), CT Office of Policy & Management (OPM), City of New Haven, City of Philadelphia, Child Health and Development Institute of CT (CHDI), Connecticut Judicial Branch Court Support Services Div. (CSSD), Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), University of Connecticut.

Private: Carolyn Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children’s Foundation of Connecticut, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Connecticut Health Foundation, Mural Arts Associates, New Alliance Foundation, Partnership for Strong Communities, Perrin Family Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Tauck Family Foundation, Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, United Illuminating Company, United Way of Greater New Haven, W.C. Graustein Memorial Fund, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, Fairfield County Community Foundation.

Does The Center conduct its community work free of cost?

We offer many services at no charge and some for a sliding scale fee. Services are offered at no or reduced rates because they are supported through a grant, contract, or by the Connecticut Mental Health Center.