for people ages 6 years and up (full criteria)
at San Diego, California
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Gregory Aarons, PhDDanielle Fettes, PhD
Headshot of Gregory Aarons
Gregory Aarons
Headshot of Danielle Fettes
Danielle Fettes



This project proposes to improve successful mental health service linkage in Child Welfare Services (CWS) by adapting and testing the After Action Review (AAR) team effectiveness intervention to augment the Child Family Team (CFT) services intervention. Despite being both required and a collaborative approach to service planning, CFT meetings are implemented with questionable fidelity and consistency, rarely including children and families as intended. By inclusion of child and family voice, the AAR-enhanced CFT should lead to increased fidelity to the CFT intervention and greater levels of parental satisfaction with the service and shared decision-making, thus resulting in enhanced follow-through with Action Plans and linkage to mental health care for children.


The proposed project will address the following aims:

Aim 1. Conduct a qualitative needs assessment targeting the ongoing implementation of the CFT services intervention in a large, publicly funded, CWS. A qualitative inquiry consisting of interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders will result in the preparation of an action plan to address identified gaps between the current and desired CFT services intervention outcomes.

Aim 2. Adapt and tailor the AAR implementation strategy to address the CFT services intervention needs.

Aim 3. Assess mechanisms of the AAR team effectiveness intervention for CFT implementation.


Mental Health Issue, Children, Adult, Child Welfare Services, Team Effectiveness Research, Shared Decision Making, After-Action Review


You can join if…

Open to people ages 6 years and up

Inclusion Criteria for CWS leaders and/or caseworkers

  1. (For leaders) Employed as one of several CWS leadership positions: CWS Director, CWS Deputy Director, CWS Regional Manager; (For caseworkers) Employed as a caseworker in one of the two participating regions for the proposed study.
  2. Plans to remain employed for at least six months beyond study initiation
  3. Speaks English or Spanish

Inclusion Criteria for formal and informal CFT members

  1. Member of CFT with one of the participating CWS caseworkers. CFT members can include mental health services provider, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), educational representative, and other supports
  2. Speaks English or Spanish

Inclusion Criteria for parents/caregivers with active CWS cases

  1. Parent/caregiver of child aged 6-17 with an open CWS case
  2. Initial CFT meeting for open CWS case has not yet been held (Aim 3)
  3. Speaks English or Spanish

Inclusion Criteria for children with active CWS cases (for mental health service linkage data extraction only*)

  1. Child aged 6-17 with an open CWS case
  2. Mental health services need/s (identified by the CWS caseworker via CANS screening in advance of the initial CFT meeting, during which consensus is reached regarding the Action Plan and service referral)

You CAN'T join if...

Individuals who do not meet inclusion criteria are not eligible to participate in this study.


  • UC San Diego - IN STEP Children's Mental Health Research Center accepting new patients
    San Diego California 92123 United States

Lead Scientists at UCSD

  • Gregory Aarons, PhD
    Dr. Aarons is clinical and organizational psychologist, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), a faculty member in the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, Director of the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (CASRC) and Co-Director of the Center for Organizational Research on Implementatio…
  • Danielle Fettes, PhD
    Assistant Adjunct Professor, Psychiatry, Vc-health Sciences-schools. Authored (or co-authored) 24 research publications


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Diego
Study Type
Expecting 320 study participants
Last Updated