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California Project LAUNCH: Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health

Project LAUNCH explores and implements new approaches to meet the needs of children, ages birth to 8, and their families; builds the capacity of service providers; and aligns and integrates systems of care. This initiative is a national grant program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

WestEd’s Center for Prevention & Early Intervention is providing overall direction and evaluation of California LAUNCH activities and recommendations. For example, the project is expanding a model developed in California’s Alameda County to three counties in the state (Fresno, Nevada, and San Francisco) in which a highly skilled infant-family mental health consultant works within existing public health home visiting programs to provide consultation to home visitors, provide direct mental health services to a limited number of clients, and make referrals to mental health treatment as appropriate.

The key element of this model is making available an Infant-Family Mental Health (IFMH) Specialist to mentor and consult with home visiting program staff regarding the complex mental health issues their clients face.

In addition, the IFMH Specialist builds the capacity of home visitors to provide culturally responsive mental health services to meet the needs of the ethnically and culturally diverse families they serve.

LAUNCH sites also offer Family Cafés to provide peer-to-peer opportunities for families, enhance family engagement, and affirm the importance of parent leadership in families and communities. Family Cafés facilitate meaningful, reflective conversations among parents and family members that promote and build the Strengthening Families’ protective factors.