Research and Projects

Children’s mental health research to better serve the Ottawa community.

  • University of Ottawa

Since 2018, Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Centre and the University of Ottawa have conducted collaborative research together to:

  • better understand the needs of our clients;
  • improve practices, services, and outcomes; and
  • contribute to the body of knowledge around infant and childhood mental health

With support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, we are currently working closely with University of Ottawa researchers to advance our understanding of the educational experiences of children seeking services for behavioural or social-emotional concerns. Our broad goal of this project is to bring a data-driven approach to community mental health as it relates specifically to children’s educational outcomes and experiences.

Our lead researchers:

We are very pleased to work with a group of passionate researchers as well as a dedicated group of students from the field of psychology, counselling psychology, and education.

Dr. David Smith is Professor of Counselling Psychology at the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. He conducts research on school-based bullying prevention programs and school climate, and on the links between mental health and bullying. He is particularly interested in the role of student-teacher relationships and their potential to mitigate bullying, as well as helping teachers to build social-emotional capacities in the service of building strong, positive relationships with students using ideas and practices that are based on the ancient wisdom of mindfulness. He is a founding member and former executive member of PREVNet (, a Canadian organization, and BRNet, an international organization, both of which are devoted to finding sustainable solutions to bullying and promoting positive development in children and youth.

Maria Rogers:  Dr. Maria A. Rogers is an Associate Professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Ottawa.  She is an Affiliate Investigator at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Toronto.  As the Director of the uOttawa ADHD and Development Lab, Dr. Rogers has broad interests in the school and family functioning of children, youth, and you adults with neurodevelopmental disorders.  Dr. Rogers’ recent work has focused on understanding family-level risk and protective factors when young children demonstrate early attentional and self-regulation difficulties.  Dr. Rogers has received several federal and provincial awards and honours for her research, including the Canadian Psychological Association and funding from federal and provincial granting agencies.  She is also a Registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and has worked clinically with children, teachers, and families in several school boards, clinics, and hospitals in Ontario and Quebec.

Jessica Whitley:  Dr. Jess Whitley is an Associate Professor of Inclusive Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa. Her research and teaching interests focus on mental health, inclusive education, and the intersection of the two.

For more information on research activities at Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Centre, please contact us at

  • Ottawa Collaborative Problem Solving

Leading research in Ottawa on Collaborative Problem Solving.

Crossroads is at the forefront of proven treatment approaches, including practice and training in Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), which is an evidence-informed practice model in the delivery of mental health services for children and youth. Crossroads is currently participating in a study, The Parent and Child Outcomes of Parent Group Training Using Collaborative Problem Solving, led and implemented by researchers from Think:Kids at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The main objectives of this study are to evaluate the effects of a CPS parent group on both parents’ and children’s outcomes. The parent factors we expect to change include:

  1. an understanding of how neurocognitive skills relate to children’s misbehaviour;
  2. parenting stress and parent-child relationships; and
  3. parenting style.

Child outcomes include the frequency and perceived severity of challenging behaviour. Researchers hypothesize that compared to parents on a waiting list control group, parents who have CPS training will have a better understanding of what underlies their child’s challenging behaviour, will become more competent with parenting using CPS related practices, and will experience less parenting stress and an improved parent-child relationship. Furthermore, we also expect to find less severe and/or less frequent occurrences of child’s challenging behaviour.

For more information on research activities at Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Centre, contact

  • Head Start Project

Infant and early childhood mental health is critical because, what happens in the early years can have a lifelong impact.  This project brings together Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Centre and local Headstart programs with the intent of demonstrating the value of on-site access to mental health workers/coaches to ensure timely, appropriate, and accessible access to mental health services for children and their families. The project also aims to build capacity within the early years system to improve children’s social emotional well-being.

The primary objectives of this approach are to:

  • build capacity and problem-solving abilities among educators, children and their families using relationship-based interventions;
  • put mechanisms in place to ensure that early identification and referral to appropriate services are made;
  • build capacity with parents/caregivers with an emphasis on fostering healthy attachment and emotional well-being;
  • conduct an outcome driven evaluation to inform the development of recommendations for improvements at the system level.

Preliminary evaluation results:

  • Childcare staff reported increased ability to understand the children’s behaviours and respond effectively;
  • Childcare staff highlighted the impact of the home visits (provided by Crossroads) as filling an important service gap. Home visits provide an opportunity for increased communication with families and create consistency across the home and child care environment;
  • Parents are more familiar and comfortable accessing treatment services from Crossroads (where appropriate).

For more information on this project, contact us at

  • Kindergarten Project

During the 2017-2018 academic year, in collaboration with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and the Youth Services Bureau, Crossroads implemented a pilot project to work with Kindergarten children, their families, and their teaching staff. The program was based on Attachment Theory and Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS). It involved building staff and parent capacity in these approaches while working with the kindergarten children to ensure their successful entry into the school system. The project also aimed to provide ongoing supports during the academic year to those most in need. Funding for this pilot project was provided through an Innovation Award by the Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health (CoE) and the Ministry of Child and Youth Services.

Outcomes and successes of the Kindergarten Pilot Project included:

  • Increased pro-social interactions among Kinder students;
  • Reduction in challenging behaviours;
  • Decreased educator stress;
  • Philosophy and practice shift in staff and parents involved in the project.

To learn more about the outcomes and lessons learned from this pilot project, contact us at for a copy of the final report.

Child & Family Clinic Hours


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