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Abstract

The focus of this paper is on the development and evaluation of an intervention model for Florida's Infant and Young Child Mental Health Pilot Program, designed to identify families with children at risk for abuse and neglect, and to provide clinical evaluation and treatment services. The evaluation model, intervention strategies, and results presented in this paper are all part of the Florida pilot project developed as a response to the recommendations of the state's Strategic Plan for Infant Mental Health. Funded by the Florida legislature, the 3-year, multisite pilot was designed to provide earlier identification, better evaluation, and more effective treatment services for high-risk children under the age of three. The target population was children either at risk for out-of-home placement due to abuse and neglect, or those already in the child welfare system or adjudicated dependent by the state. The goals of the pilot project were: 1) to reduce the occurrence and re-occurrence of abuse and neglect; 2) to enhance the child's developmental functioning; 3) to improve the parent-child relationship; 4) to increase expeditious permanency placements; 5) to develop a model for intervention and treatment that could potentially be replicated in different sites; and 6) to document the components of a quality infant mental health intervention model and evaluate its effectiveness.