This program evaluation study describes 3 years of implementation of Arkansas’s BehaviorHelp (BH) system, a statewide expulsion prevention support system for early care and education (ECE). BH coordinates three tiers of supports to ECE professionals, including phone support, on-site technical assistance (TA), and infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC). We examine differences in characteristics of those served across BH service tiers, describe short-term case outcomes, and explore factors associated with expulsions. BH accepted referrals for 1,195 children in 488 ECE programs. The majority of referrals involved male children over the age of three, and most cases were assigned to the TA tier (68.5%). Cases assigned to receive IECMHC (28.4%) were more likely to involve children in foster care, receiving developmental therapies, and with higher rates of exposure to potentially traumatic events. The expulsion rate among referred children was 2.9%, and reported teacher engagement with the support process was high. Teachers receiving IECMHC services reported significant improvements in children’s symptoms of emotional and behavioral problems. Exploratory analyses revealed that risk factors for expulsion included being a male, in foster care, in a lower quality ECE environment, and having a teacher with less training in social–emotional development. (author abstract)
Evaluation of a statewide initiative to reduce expulsion of young children
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