Collaborative Problem Solving

Many of Coordinated Access’ partners have adopted the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) model which has demonstrated effectiveness with children and adolescents with a wide range of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges across a variety of different settings: from families, schools, mentoring organizations and foster care agencies to therapeutic programs such as inpatient psychiatry units, residential treatment and juvenile detention facilities. This evidence based model has also been applied in transitional age youth and adult programs as well as used with neurotypically developing kids to foster the development of social emotional skills. Entire states and provinces use CPS to provide a common philosophy and language and a structured, relational process for understanding and helping challenging kids. CPS is a strengths-based, neurobiologically-grounded approach that provides concrete guideposts so as to operationalize trauma-informed care and empower youth and family voice.

As applied to challenging kids, the model sets forth two major tenets:

  1. Challenges are best understood as the byproduct of lagging thinking skills (rather than, for example, as attention-seeking, manipulative, limit-testing, or a sign of poor motivation);
  2. These challenges are best addressed by teaching children the skills they lack (rather than through reward and punishment programs and intensive imposition of adult will).

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