Boston Children's Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships | Overview

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Boston Children's Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (BCHNP) is the community behavioral health program in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital.  For 13 years, BCHNP has placed social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists in schools and community health centers throughout Boston to provide a comprehensive array of behavioral health services to children and adolescents where they live and learn.


BCHNP focuses its services on Roxbury, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and Dorchester—some of the most underserved neighborhoods in Boston—where families name behavioral 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 behavioral 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 services.  

BCHNP seeks to alleviate barriers to quality behavioral 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 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 behavioral health training and consultation to school staff.  Family engagement is a critical component of BCHNP’s work in schools. 

Additionally in the fall of 2015, BCHNP is implementing a new initiative for schools in Boston. The Training Access Project (TAP) provides high quality professional development and consultation to educators, leaders, and school staff.  The goal of the project is to help build schools capacity to better address the social and emotional needs of their students, staff and community.  

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 behavioral health training and consultation to health center staff.  

 The goals of BCHNP are:

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

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

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

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

  5. To promote systemic change in behavioral health service delivery


Advocacy and System Change

Innovation in behavioral health service delivery

BCHNP began as a program to partner with individual schools.  Now in its fourteenth 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 behavioral health services are provided in Massachusetts. 
  • BCHNP was instrumental in drafting the legislative language that created the Task Force on Behavioral Health and Public Schools.  With representation from Children’s and BCHNP, the Task Force created a Safe and Supportive Schools Framework, which was passed in 2014 and will require all schools to develop action plans for creating safe and supportive environments by 2017.  BCHNP continues to be involved in the advocacy efforts to implement this legislation. 
  • Eager to implement this legislation, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) have invited BCHNP to be its main partner in the development and implementation of a district-wide behavioral health model. The Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model (CBHM) is being piloted in 40 schools and integrates many of the bill’s key elements. For more information on the work of the BPS and BCHNP, please visit  


Contact Us

For more information contact:

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

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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