Publication Date

Winter 3-6-2024

Item Type


Executive Summary

Developing a Caregiver Educational Tool for Children with Behavior Issues

The team was tasked to create a health-based solution for problems facing a non-profit agency. The agency is a branch of an organization in King County, where providing critical familial needs, strengthening familial bonds, and preventing homelessness are the primary aims. Last year, the agency was able to assist 669 families, and the numbers are continuing to grow as more resources become available.

The team included six Seattle Pacific University nursing students, who are enrolled in a Nursing Leadership in Community Engagement course. After collaborative meetings with the managers at the agency, there was a concern about the lack of resources to help caregivers of children with challenging behaviors. With this information, we developed the goals of our project: providing educational strategies to assist caregivers of children with challenging behaviors and creating a path for individuals to access pediatric behavioral health resources.


The population that is served by the agency includes low-income families, those with young children, individuals with special needs, and populations experiencing homelessness or housing instability. These vulnerable individuals are at a higher risk for financial hardship, knowledge deficits, and housing insecurities. The mission of the agency is to meet one-on-one with families to provide community-based services to support those who are at risk of homelessness. Resources through the agency include housing, employment, food, and healthcare access, focusing on families with young children. The agency has stated that they want to be a critical resource for families, helping them overcome barriers to access services, find resources for financial stability, and even prevent homelessness.

When the team completed a windshield survey of the community, our most significant observation was a large homeless encampment across the street from the agency. The surrounding area included infrastructure neglect such as various boarded up buildings. There was heightened security seen on numerous buildings including bars on the windows. Schools in the area consisted of a diverse student population. An assortment of public transportation modes exists in the region, primarily light-rail stations, and multiple bus routes. Overall, the community displayed signs of low socio-economic status, with a large population of unhoused individuals, including children.

Activities with rationale

In the beginning of our project, we performed a thorough assessment of the surrounding areas. It was revealed that the population faced significant challenges due to low socio-economic status, housing instability, and homelessness. The agency identified a lack of resources to deal with children who have behavioral issues as a pressing concern. With this information, we formulated a nursing diagnosis of a population at risk for knowledge deficits regarding caregiver management of children with behavioral conditions related to the lack of resources. This diagnosis indicates that caregivers in the community do not have access to adequate resources or information to effectively manage behavioral issues in children, potentially putting the children at risk for further behavioral problems.

The planning phase involved developing strategies and interventions to meet the needs of the community. In this case, the goal was to provide caregivers with practical strategies for managing behavioral challenges in children despite limited resources. The primary step in this plan included developing an educational brochure. Through researching evidence-based resources, we developed several applicable strategies for some of the most common challenges caregivers face such as difficulty regulating emotions, difficulty focusing, self-harm behaviors, elopement, social indiscrimination, and sensory seeking. A nursing expert in neurodivergent childcare, a pediatric nursing professor, and the agency team validated the content of the project. We decided to utilize an educational brochure due to its convenience for individuals without access to technology. We used simple, inclusive language to ensure accessibility for individuals with lower levels of healthcare literacy. The brochure can be folded into fourths, and the agency will offer plastic badge holders that can protect against the elements.

The intervention carried out will be distributing the educational brochure. Distributing the brochure to caregivers and other community organizations will be beneficial in evaluating the effectiveness. Furthermore, continuously monitoring the intervention and gathering feedback from caregivers will prove useful in evaluating the impact on caregiver knowledge, confidence, and ability to manage behavior challenges in children.


The project had two primary objectives: to provide an educational tool for caregivers dealing with behavioral challenges in children and create a path for individuals experiencing housing instability to access pediatric behavioral health care resources. The first goal was met, as the group created an educational brochure. Through communication with our agency, we narrowed down six commonly faced issues for caregivers in our target population. These concerns were then assessed by lay people and experts in children’s behavioral health for readability and applicability.

Our second goal has yet to be actualized, however we provided resources for pediatric behavioral health in the QR code. The agency will be disseminating the pamphlets, which is a limitation in our ability to evaluate the effectiveness of the brochure. Assessing the effectiveness of the second goal proved challenging, as there was limited contact with the target population. Due to this lack of interaction with our community, input from peers, agency representatives, and an outside expert in pediatrics proved incredibly beneficial. Given the unstable nature of many individuals’ housing and geographic location in our community of focus, it would be exceptionally difficult to track what resources are utilized in the long term.


The behavioral brochure will provide a convenient and accessible resource for low income families and those experiencing housing instability in Seattle. We have accomplished this by creating a resource that is easily accessible, where caregivers can access effective strategies wherever they are. Limitations identified pertain to the inability to directly interact with the target population and evaluate the implementation of the strategies within the community. Furthermore, language barriers along with limited education and financial resources proved to be a setback. The goals were met by providing information in simple language to caregivers whose children experience behavioral challenges and a QR code with detailed resources. Lastly, future projects could include direct interactions with the surroundings communities.


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