This project will address the significant school safety issue of student emotional and behavioral health crisis. This study will employ a randomized controlled study design to evaluate the impact of the EBH-CRP (emotional and behavioral health crisis response and prevention)intervention on school safety outcomes. The EBH-CRP intervention is a comprehensive training, organization, and support protocol for school and community stakeholders aimed at increasing school/community competence in responding to and preventing student emotional and behavioral health crises using evidence-based, culturally competent, school-informed strategies that address emotional and behavioral health concerns across the continuum and are efficiently coordinated across child-serving systems. This intervention will build on existing school and community resources to implement a streamlined emotional and behavioral health crisis response and prevention protocol and comprehensive continuum of services including universal prevention, early identification, assessment and service linkage, crisis response and post crisis relapse prevention.
After thoughtful consideration of potential target samples within BCPS, it was determined that addressing EBH crises across the continuum of grade levels would allow for the best understanding of this safety issue, the impact of the intervention across elementary, middle and high schools settings, and facilitate the replication of the intervention to non-target schools in the future. To employ and evaluate the EBH-CRP intervention across the continuum of grade levels, it was determined that "feeder patterns" within BCPS that are matched on key demographic variables, including race/ethnicity, poverty, and current EBH supports, will be randomized to receive the EBH-CRP intervention or participate in the control condition. BCPS feeder patterns are developed based on geography and typically include one high school, 2-4 middle schools, and 5-10 elementary schools. To establish adequate power to detect significant differences between intervention and control schools, at least 22 schools are necessary in each condition. Given this, two sets of feeder patterns matched on key demographic variables will be randomly assigned with one feeder pattern in each set to receive the intervention and one in each set to participate in the control condition.
Measurement of the impact of the EBH-CRP intervention will be driven by five research questions. The primary goal of the evaluation is to measure clear changes in specific school safety outcomes in intervention schools versus comparison schools, while the secondary goal is to measure process variables that are critical to understanding the mechanisms that impact the change process and inform potential modifications to the intervention. In addition, a cost-benefit analysis will be conducted to assess the net benefits of the EBH-CRP intervention over the project period.