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TARGET Program

TARGET is a group treatment program within the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health that helps kids and their caregivers receive short-term, evidence-based therapy for behavioral challenges.


Patients We Serve

The TARGET program supports caregivers and their children (ages 3-10) who have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), disruptive behavior disorders, or other behavioral challenges such as:

  • Difficulty following rules, routines, and directions
  • Defiance, tantrums, and emotional dysregulation
  • Mild aggression like pushing and hitting

While the children are involved for part of the group therapy sessions, the main focus of these groups is to work with parents and caregivers on learning strategies to address their child’s challenging behaviors. We serve families insured by Medicaid as well as those with private insurance.

Therapy Groups

As of fall 2022, TARGET offers a therapy group for two age ranges of children: 3-6 years old and 7-10 years old. Both groups are made up of 8-12 kids and run weekly for 8 sessions. Please note—both groups are only offered through telemedicine at this time.

The following are the current TARGET therapy groups:

  • Parent Management Training for Preschool age (3-6 years old)
    • Curriculum: Brief Behavioral Intervention® (BBI)
    • Time frame: 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays (8-week program)
    • Sessions are virtual using telemedicine
    • Structure: Children participate for the first 15-20 minutes of the group to learn about behaviors, feelings, and coping skills. After that, children are dismissed and caregivers join the group. The caregiver portion lasts 70-75 minutes and focuses on how caregivers can help improve their children’s behavior.

  • Parent Management Training for School Age (7-10 years old)
    • Curriculum: First Approach Skills Training for Behavior® (FAST-B)
    • Time frame: 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Mondays (8-week program)
    • Sessions are virtual using telemedicine
    • Structure: Children participate together for the first 25-30 minutes of the group to practice social skills and learn about feelings, coping skills, boundaries, and self-esteem. After that, children are dismissed and caregivers join the group. The caregiver portion lasts 60-65 minutes and focuses on how caregivers can help improve their children’s behavior.

**Please note—as of fall 2022, there is a wait list for the 7-10-year-old group. Current estimated wait times for groups are 3-6 months.**

What Families Have Said About TARGET

“The TARGET group made us realize we are not alone. I was able to watch my son interact with other children who share his struggles. We were given the opportunity to look deeper into feelings and how to not only regulate them but understand why my son had such big feelings over what I thought were small situations.” - Mother of 7-year-old participant              

“The TARGET group was a good mix of practical and technical information. Our son enjoyed it and participating got us all on the same page.” - Parents of 8-year-old participant                                            

“The Target Program provided so many tools to us as parents of children with ADHD's social and behavioral challenges. My husband and I approach their negative behaviors differently, and the related consequences in large part have taken our own heightened emotions out of the mix. Negative attention is still attention so stop engaging in the back and forth!  I can't thank them enough!” - Mother of 8 and 9-year-old participants

Medication Management

Some children with challenging behaviors may benefit from medication treatment. Children enrolled in TARGET groups who do not already have a medication provider are eligible to be seen for a medication evaluation by one of the TARGET providers. Options will be discussed during your child’s brief evaluation with TARGET.

How to Get Started with TARGET

If you are interested in being considered for the TARGET program and your child already sees a provider in the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health, please talk with that provider to determine if the program would be a good fit. If so, your provider can submit a transfer to the TARGET program, and you will receive a call from the TARGET team to schedule a screening session.

If your child does not already have a provider in the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health, please call 1.800.KIDS DOC (1.800.543.7362) to get connected to the TARGET Program. During that call, you will describe your child’s mental or behavioral challenges to a KIDS DOC team member. After that, your child’s information will be sent to the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry intake team, and an intake worker will call you for more specific information. During that call, please ask to be considered for the TARGET Program. Your child’s information will be given to the TARGET team and we will contact you to set up your child’s brief evaluation and screening session.

TARGET Team

Kimberly Lienhoop, LCSW
Senior Social Worker 

Hillery Morris-Princehorn, LCSW
Social Worker 

Maggie Pucker, MS, LMSW
Social Worker 

Madeline Graber, APRN, PMHNP-BC, LCSW
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Shannon Kawa, APRN, PMHNP-BC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Jennifer Peterson, APRN, PMHNP-BC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Yesenia Castellanos
Administrative Assistant, Clinical & Academic

Monica Pacheco
Administrative Assistant, Clinical & Academic

TARGET Program Frequently Asked Questions

In the initial phone call from TARGET, you will be asked some questions to help us understand whether or not the TARGET program is a good fit for you and your child. If so, we will ask you to complete questionnaires online that are needed for your child’s brief evaluation. Once you complete those questionnaires, you can call our team back to schedule your child’s brief evaluation and orientation to group.

The brief evaluation for group will be held virtually through telemedicine. The length of the appointment is usually 60 minutes but can sometimes take less time if your child already has a mental health diagnosis. In that appointment, a clinician will give their clinical input about your child’s challenges and will provide an orientation to the group.

If TARGET turns out not to be the best option for your child, other treatment options will be discussed in that appointment. 

If your child is enrolled in a TARGET group, their progress will be monitored using caregiver rating forms that are filled out before the group treatment begins and after the group has ended. Once you complete the 8-week group cycle, a clinician will meet with you and your child for an individual feedback appointment where your child’s progress is reviewed and any additional treatment recommendations, if needed, are discussed. Families who wish to continue individual therapy after the group has ended will be given referrals to other agencies in the community.

In order to see your child improve, it is very important that you attend the group as much as possible. If you are absent for one of the group sessions, a clinician will attempt to schedule a make-up appointment to review the content that you missed. However, if you miss more than two group sessions without completing a make-up appointment, you may be dropped from the group.  

The TARGET program aims to increase access to therapy for more families. We do not allow families to repeat groups in order to allow other families the chance to engage in treatment. If you are interested in continuing therapy after your group cycle has ended, we are happy to discuss other services that may be of interest in your individual feedback appointment. 

No, medication is not required for group participation. However, if recommended, medication may help your child benefit from the group by making it easier for him/her to pay attention and focus during group sessions. 

MyChart

MyChart gives you safe, secure online access to portions of your child's electronic medical record (EMR). It also serves as a secure message center to communicate with your child’s healthcare providers, allows you to complete online questionnaires for enrolled programs, and access telemedicine appointments. Click here to learn more about MyChart. 

Sign up for MyChart

Philanthropy

The TARGET program was supported by an anonymous donor to the Building Healthier Communities program.

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