Children's Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Overview

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About the CHNP

Boston Children's Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (CHNP) is the community mental health program in the Department of Psychiatryat Boston Children’s Hospital.  For more than 10 years, the Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (CHNP) Program has placed social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists in schools and community health centers throughout Boston to provide a comprehensive array of mental health services to children and adolescents where they live and learn.


CHNP focuses its services on Roxbury, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and Dorchester—some of the most underserved neighborhoods in Boston—where families name mental health as a top health priority.  Children growing up in these communities experience high rates of poverty, interpersonal violence, deteriorating social structures, and systemic discrimination, putting them at greater risk for mental health problems that impair their academic performance and interpersonal relationships.  Yet these children and their families experience formidable barriers when attempting to access high-quality mental health services.  

CHNP seeks to alleviate barriers to quality mental health care through its two community-based programs: the School-Based Program and the Community Health Center Program.    

The School-Based Program includes partnerships with 12 schools in Boston, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Dorchester, including elementary, K-8, middle, and high schools.  Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) social workers and psychologists work onsite to provide clinical, early intervention, and prevention and promotion services to students, and mental health training and consultation to school staff.  Family engagement is a critical component of CHNP’s work in schools.

The Community Health Center Program includes partnerships with 4 community health centers in Boston, Jamaica Plain, and Roxbury.  BCH child and adolescent psychiatrists work on-site to provide early identification, assessment, treatment, and care coordination services to children and adolescents receiving primary medical care at the health centers. The psychiatrists also provide mental health training and consultation to health center staff.  

 The goals of CHNP are:

  1. To increase access to children’s mental health services in underserved communities;

  2. To promote children’s social-emotional development through a broad spectrum of mental health services;

  3. To build the sustainable mental health capacity of partner organizations;

  4. To achieve high satisfaction with services provided among all key stakeholders; and

  5. To promote systemic change in mental health service delivery


Advocacy and System Change

Innovation in mental health service delivery

Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (CHNP) began as a program to partner with individual schools.  Now in its tenth year, the program has evolved into a model that is positioned to help schools across the city and state build the necessary internal capacity to proactively address student behavioral health issues that impact academic and life success.  


  • In 2006, Boston Children’s partnered with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to co-found the Children’s Mental Health Campaign in an effort to change how children’s mental health services are provided in Massachusetts. 
  • CHNP’s founding director was instrumental in drafting the legislative language that created the Task Force on Behavioral Health and Public Schools.  With representation from Children’s and CHNP, the Task Force created a Safe and Supportive Schools Framework, which would require all schools to develop action plans for creating safe and supportive environments by 2017.  CHNP continues to be involved in the advocacy efforts to pass this pending legislation. 
  • Eager to implement this proposal, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) have invited CHNP to be its partner in the development of a district-wide behavioral health model that will pilot many of the bill’s elements and will serve as a model for school districts across the country.  
  • In preparation for these changes, CHNP is also playing a larger role in BPS’s professional development practices. Drawing on its experience at the school level, CHNP is co-sponsoring and leading monthly professional development workshops for teachers and administrators district-wide. This presents yet another opportunity to promote systemic change by building capacity within BPS.


Contact Us

For more information contact:

Shella Dennery, PhD, LICSW
CHNP Program Director
Email: Shella Dennery
Phone: 617-919-3201 

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944