The Invisible Children's Project: key ingredients of an intervention for parents with mental illness

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Clinical and Population Health Research; Center for Mental Health Services Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Adult; *Case Management; Child; Child Welfare; Child of Impaired Parents; Child, Preschool; Combined Modality Therapy; *Crisis Intervention; Education; Evidence-Based Medicine; *Family Therapy; Female; Health Policy; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care); Referral and Consultation; Self Concept




This study used a collective case study design to identify key ingredients of the Invisible Children's Project, an intervention program for families in which a parent has a mental illness. Data were obtained from interviews with parents and service providers, and from family file records. Qualitative analyses were used to generate hypotheses regarding key ingredients and targeted outcomes, and to develop a testable intervention model. Key ingredients were defined as core processes, essential services, and mediators. Strong convergence across parents and providers suggested core processes defined by family-centered, strengths-based, emotionally supportive, and comprehensive approaches; essential services including family case management, 24-hour crisis services, access to flexible funds, liaison and advocacy, and mediators reflecting parent-provider trust and communication/cooperation, provider-provider trust, adoption of strengths-based approaches, development of appropriate treatment plans, parent engagement, and parent self-esteem/self-efficacy. A model of the intervention is presented, and results are discussed with respect to research and policy implications.

DOI of Published Version



J Behav Health Serv Res. 2005 Oct-Dec;32(4):393-408. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The journal of behavioral health services and research

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID