A Wraparound Approach to Children’s Mental Health
Kaitlin Perkins is a master’s-level clinician intern in CHD’s In-Home Therapy program. Our agency’s In-Home Therapy and Therapeutic Mentoring services are part of the Massachusetts Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI), which connects families with teams of support staff to coordinate services.
In-Home Therapy delivers a wraparound approach to children receiving behavioral health care. Clinicians work with the whole family, as well as other important people in the child or youth’s life, such as teachers, doctors, caseworkers, and coaches, and extended family members.
Perkins originally wanted to be a special education teacher, and graduated with a degree in special education and psychology from Westfield State University. She did a couple of years of applied behavior analysis work, but desired a job that would challenge her every day.
She found it at CHD, and is now earning her master’s degree in mental health counseling at Cambridge College.
“I fell in love with in-home therapy,” said Perkins. “At the end of the day, we’re making a difference.”
Many of the children and youths Perkins works with come from a traumatic history, which cause some of them to act out. For example, she was providing therapy to a girl whose grandfather recently passed away, and her stepfather was in prison. “Her biological father is in and out of the picture—his presence is inconsistent—she’s not getting that traditional father-daughter time,” she said. “Because she’s not receiving enough male attention at home, she’s seeking it somewhere else, and inappropriately—she’s talking very sexually with a male peer at school, and she’s only eight years old. So one of the keys is trying to educate her on what’s age-appropriate for her to be engaging in and not engaging in. We can monitor what she’s watching on her phone, and whether she is visiting websites that we should reel her back from.”
Perkins said she lives for the days “when I see improvements in a family situation—that’s what keeps driving me to keep going back.” She recalls a situation with a defiant teen who went beyond the normal “testing the limits” phase that most adolescents go through. “He wanted nothing to do with his family,” she said. “He was fed up. He has younger siblings, who annoy him, in his opinion. So we worked on sitting down as a family and playing games together, and having family dinners together. We made some goals, and then, one time I walked in, and they were eating a meal together. Another time, I went to their home, and they were playing a game together. So, we had reached a goal.”
- Know of anyone needing children’s behavioral therapy, including In-Home Therapy and Therapeutic Mentoring? Have them call 1-844-CHD-HELP.
- Those interested in making a difference in the lives of children, youth, and families can apply for a clinician position in our In-Home Therapy program by clicking here.