The Devereux Center for Resilient Children
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About The Devereux Center for Resilient Children

Since 1912, Devereux has been providing high quality human services to children, adults, and families with special needs deriving from behavioral, psychological, intellectual, or neurological impairments. Today, Devereux is the nation’s largest not-for-profit behavioral health care provider, serving approximately 20,000 children, adolescents and adults each year across the country in residential, community and day programs. While Devereux’s array of services is vast, children with emotional and behavioral difficulties comprise approximately half of the individuals served in a given year. Tragically, the age at which such children are referred to Devereux continues to get younger each year. Whereas in the past Devereux would expect pre-teens and teenagers to be referred for residential treatment, today it is not uncommon for a child as young as eight years old to be referred for residential treatment due to emotional and behavioral challenges.

In response to this alarming trend, the Devereux Early Childhood Initiative (DECI) was created in 1996. The mission of the DECI is to promote young children’s social and emotional development, foster resilience, and build the skills for success in school and life. The DECI is designed to prevent emotional and behavioral problems and thereby reduce the number of young children referred for residential treatment. Comprised of both early childhood and mental health professionals, the DECI team has developed research, strength-based resources, and training to support communities in their efforts to enhance young children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent challenging behaviors. The DECI model focuses on training early childhood educators and parents to assess children’s social and emotional strengths, and use the assessment results to create plans for both the early care and education and home settings that will enhance children’s resilience.

With the recent publication of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Infants and Toddlers (DECA-I/T) and the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), the scope of Devereux’s strength-based resources reaches birth through the 8th grade. The staff of DECI has also begun to realize the importance of resilience in the adults who care for children, and to develop resources to promote adult resilience as well.

In addition to these internal developments, the fields of education and behavioral health are also placing more emphasis on resilience. In 2003, the President’s New Freedom Commission identified resilience and recovery as the two fundamental themes of the behavioral health system. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has also stressed the importance of resilience to healthy development. Similarly, recent reports from the Institute of Medicine and the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) have documented the essential role that social-emotional competence plays in school and life success. Many state departments of education have identified resilience as a meaningful construct for guiding student services.

These internal developments and external drivers led Robert Q. Kreider, President and CEO of Devereux, to propose the creation of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC) in 2009. DCRC will expand upon the early childhood focus of DECI to promote social-emotional development, foster resilience, and build skills for school and life success in all children and the adults who care for them. While the Devereux Center for Resilient Children will provide resources to build resilience in adults, the focus of its mission, as reflected in its name, will continue to be on children. The creation of the DCRC marks a new beginning, a broadening of scope, and a recommitment of resources to Devereux’s prevention efforts.


All children and their families will live in communities that value and promote their strengths, happiness, and resilience.


The mission of the DCRC is to promote social and emotional development, foster resilience, and build skills for school and life success in all children and the adults who care for them.


We value…
  1. The strengths, happiness and resilience of all children.
  2. The well-being of the adults who parent, nurture and educate children.
  3. Strength-based approaches.
  4. Strong partnerships between families and child-serving professionals.
  5. Collaboration to optimize positive outcomes.
  6. Data-driven decision making.
What We Do

DCRC promotes the strengths, happiness and resilience of children through…
  1. Developing resources including assessments and intervention guides that are grounded in theory, evidence-based, practical and accessible.
  2. Conducting and supporting applied research to inform and evaluate our programs and resources.
  3. Collaborating with Devereux programs and community partners.
  4. Providing training and technical assistance.
  5. Advocating for children and influencing public policy.
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