Supporting families through the application of a rural pediatric integrated care model


Amy D. Habeger

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Family Social Work

Publication Date



Rural families are burdened by lost time from work, extensive time spent navigating the system of care, and long wait times. Colocating social care and medical care services in the primary care office would expand the availability of shallow end services, allow for triaging of concerns and the reduction of wait times for initial screening and assessment services. The Maryland Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care colocated model involves collaborations between primary care providers and master’s-level social work interns to enhance behavioral health outcomes for children and families in rural Maryland. Findings from the first three years’ program evaluations provide much valuable information about challenges to program success and utilization. Some of the findings indicate that the primary care providers’ understanding of the social work identity in a colocated context affects how often the interns are asked to consult and how they are perceived by families. Feedback from the interns indicates that feelings of isolation as social workers in the host environments affects their experiences in the field placement and with the families. Finally, families’ aversion to stigma related to working with a social worker likely affects their engagement with the interns.