Childhood Intervention Initiative

The J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Childhood Intervention Initiative (CII), is a hallmark of Trinity Counseling Service’s work in our community. The CII provides high quality, interventions in the lives of underserved children to improve school readiness and success from the earliest stages of life. The CII is an evidence-based, collaborative intervention model that hinges on a strong partnership with the Princeton Nursery School, the Princeton Public Schools, and as of 2015, the West Windsor – Plainsboro School District. The heart of the program is our belief that to help the child, we must also help the family.  Through a process of early identification and referral to TCS clinicians, children facing emotional and/or behavioral challenges are treated along with their families to improve overall function in the family, school, and life. Our clinicians tailor therapy to address the child’s needs and family’s goals, working with the siblings, parents and other caretakers of the referred child while focusing on the needs of the child.

The Childhood Intervention Initiative was established to provide underserved families with high quality, personalized mental health services. To that end, no child or any member of their family who is seen as a result of being referred to TCS through the CII pays for service. All clients in the CII may be seen free of charge until the primary child client graduates high school, or turns 18, whichever comes first.

CII Intervention Methods

Through the CII, children of all ages receive expert mental health interventions. Pre-school aged children are observed by a Ph.D. level school psychologist in their classroom. The psychologist then works in partnership with the preschool teachers to identify the needs of individual children and assess the level of intervention most appropriate based on their emotional and behavioral functioning. The majority of preschool children identified to receive support are treated in the classroom through a method of emotional and behavioral modeling supported by the child psychologist. If additional or more intensive support is needed, the child may be referred to TCS to receive one-on-one counseling with a licensed TCS clinician at the TCS office. However, this rarely occurs as most interventions can take place effectively and with lasting impact in the classroom itself.

Children at the K-12 levels are regularly identified and referred to the CII by school guidance counselors and child study teams thanks to a strong collaboration with partner schools. Once referred, TCS’ Associate Executive Director, who is also a licensed clinical social worker, works with the child’s family and a TCS clinician to schedule therapy for the client(s). In addition, any family member of the child that needs to be seen in order to improve overall family functioning, and for the betterment of the child, may be seen.

Outcome Measurements

Each year, our clinicians administer outcome measurements for parents and teachers to assess the improvement of those students tested. The focus is twofold:

  • Academically: impulse control, mood, work habits, concentration, etc.
  • Behaviorally: relationships with teachers, parents, classmates, siblings and friends.

Questions about the CII should be directed to Kim Casarona LCSW, LCADC, Associate Executive Director, at 609-924-0060.

CII Open Planning Meeting

On August 26, 2014, TCS hosted the first Open Planning Meeting for stakeholders of the Childhood Intervention Initiative at the Princeton Public Library. This meeting brought together staff and clinicians from TCS, Princeton Nursery School, John Witherspoon Middle School, Princeton High School, and members of the TCS Board of Directors to discuss changes to and goals for the Childhood Intervention Initiative. This meeting was the first step toward a more open and collaborative communication strategy that TCS is embarking on with all its programs. At the start of the 2015-2016 School Year the CII expanded to include West Windsor/Plainsboro Public Schools. For more information, please email Kim Casarona LCSW, LCADC, Associate Executive Director, at Kim.Casarona@trinitycounseling.org.