Integrating U.S. Federal Efforts to Address the Multifaceted Problems of Children: A Historical Perspective on National Education and Child Mental Health Policies

Guang Zeng, Erling E. Boe, Rebecca Shearer, Sherrye D. Garrett, Diana Slaughter-Defoe, Eleanor D. Brown, Barbara Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations


This review examines the U.S. federal response to the crisis in child mental health in relation to its efforts to address the crisis in public education. By presenting side-by-side federal responses to these two seemingly unrelated crises, this review highlights the co-occurring nature of the problems. The interconnectedness of these crises explains in part why the federal initiatives that have dealt with these problems separately, in isolation, have been minimal in their effectiveness. It is concluded, therefore, that federal efforts in improving children's mental health and academic performance should be integrated to achieve optimal outcomes. From a national policy perspective, we recommend that children's social-emotional development be incorporated into reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. This policy enhancement could effectuate (a) a broader accountability system for both academic performance and social-emotional development, and (b) a greater system of care for child mental health with schools as the focal point.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013



  • Child mental health
  • National Education Goals
  • National education policy
  • NCLB
  • School-based mental health (SBMH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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