CARING helps children exposed to severe social stress develop and strengthen their coping skills. Through art, poetry, drama, music, and dance, children learn to deal with their fears, anger, and frustration. Within these media, they are encouraged to identify their strengths and to express and explore their feelings. This model helps children from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds cope with stressors, such as poverty, physical abuse, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and learning disabilities.
Clarice J. Kestenbaum, M.D. and Ian Canino, M.D. founded CARING at Columbia in 1988 as a way to help children at-risk to develop coping skills, and at the same time, train child and adolescent psychiatry residents in creative and community-oriented alternatives to conventional mental health alternatives.
CARING’s goal is to create a safe and stable environment for children in which art is used as a means to develop constructive coping and problem-solving strategies, improve social skills, and promote positive peer interaction.