Improving care. Changing lives.

The Evidence-Based Policy Institute at Judge Baker Children’s Center Offers Expert Testimony to State Legislature

Nancy Gajee and Matt Pecoraro

BOSTON, MA (June 28, 2019) - The Evidence-based Policy Institute at Judge Baker Children’s Center was invited to offer expert testimony at two separate legislative hearings this week. At the first, held Monday, June 24th, Nancy Gajee, PhD, Judge Baker’s Director of Outpatient Clinical Services, addressed the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. In her comments, Dr. Gajee discussed the importance of evidence-based practices in promoting the best possible outcomes for children and families. She also discussed the barriers to providing high quality evidence-based care across the Commonwealth, and Judge Baker’s commitment and continuing efforts to both provide evidence-based treatments to youth and train providers in evidence-based practices locally, regionally and nationally. 

At the second, held Tuesday, June 25th, Matthew Pecoraro, MSW, Judge Baker’s Policy Associate, addressed the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education regarding recent efforts around preschool suspension and expulsion in the Commonwealth – which has shown rates up to 34x higher than suspension and expulsion in grades K-12. Mr. Pecoraro encouraged the Legislature to develop a comprehensive plan centered on three key priorities:

  1. Workforce development strategies that focus on evidence-based, best-practice approaches. These strategies should fully implement, and align Early Education and Care standards with, MassAIMH’s Competency Guidelines for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health; and prioritize and provide ongoing training and consultation on trauma-sensitive classrooms, developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive prevention and intervention approaches, eliminating bias and discrimination, and effective behavior management strategies.

  2. The availability of ongoing developmental, emotional, and behavioral consultation, needs identification, and referral services - providing teachers with an alternative to suspension or expulsion; and

  3. Child, parent, and community focused approaches that promote positive parenting skills and facilitate clear and open communication between preschool settings and parents or caregivers. 

These recommendations stem from our 2017 policy report Early Childhood Development: Implications for Policy, Systems and Practice.

An affiliate of Harvard Medical School, Judge Baker Children’s Center is a nationally recognized children’s mental health organization dedicated to improving the quality of mental health care for children and families. Named in honor of Harvey Humphrey Baker, the first judge appointed to the Boston Juvenile Court, Judge Baker opened its doors in 1917 and has been serving the children and families of greater Boston for over 100 years. The multi-faceted organization provides the very best in evidence-based practices for children and families struggling with a range of behavioral, emotional, educational, and mental health issues. Judge Baker is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families by bridging the gap between science and practice to improve access to the highest quality care in community-based settings.

JUDGE BAKER CHILDREN’S CENTER: Improving care. Changing lives.