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Caring Across Communities Collaborative
Funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

CACC Main Page | 2009-10 Workshops | Structured Dialogues | Community Conversations

Robert Wood Johnson logoCaring Across Communities Collaborative (CACC) is a program designed to address the mental health needs of diverse children and youth. A national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it is directed by the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools.

About Our Project
We are increasing mental health access and intercultural connections for immigrant and refugee students who need emotional supports, and building the cultural responsiveness of our school social workers, teachers, school-based health center staff, and community providers through intensive staff development.  We work closely with immigrant and refugee families to empower them through on-going engagement activities that strengthen families and cultural communities.  Student identity support groups welcome and sustain new arrivals.

Our Work
Our large, diverse partnership collaborates to increase the quality and number of services available to the 1,500 students who are identified as English Language Learners (ELL) in the Who We ServePortland Public Schools.  The partners believe strongly that this project, Empowerment Across Communities, has enabled them to break out of their organizational silos and join together to strengthen their services for the benefit of the target population.  The project strategy is based on an assumption that the project will increase mental health access by training mental health professionals on culturally responsive practices. Once the mental health professionals receive intensive training in the cultures of students from other countries, then they will be able to work with immigrant and refugee children more comfortably and competently.

The Partners

Project Goals: 

  • Goal #1:  To engage the target clients – refugee and immigrant families as well as mental health providers – in gathering essential input that will help inform the design, approach, and methodology of serving the mental health needs of refugee and immigrant children, youth, parents, and other adult members of the family.
  • Goal #2:  To strengthen, deepen, and expand understanding of mental health professionals, paraprofessionals, and educational staff about the cultural and historical backgrounds, life experiences, and acculturation of refugees and immigrants so that they are able to integrate services, policies, and practices that are respectful, culturally appropriate, and empowering.
  • Goal #3:  To increase the utilization and retention of refugee and immigrant children, youth, and their families in need of mental health services by building culturally responsive capacity and sustainable structures among mental health provider organizations and the school district.


  • Mental health professionals will provide services to immigrant and refugee students and their families that incorporate respect, cultural sensitivity, and cultural empowerment as measured by the outcome of training program and feedback from consumers.
  • Access to mental health service for immigrant and refugee students will be increased as evidenced by the increased number of students seeking help and the increased retention of students in care.

Portland Public Schools Multilingual and Multicultural Center