The department provides a variety of multi-faceted programs and training to help children and adolescents with developmental and psychiatric disorders participate as fully as possible in family, school and community life.

Inpatient Programs:

The Neurobehavioral Unit (NBU) is a unique inpatient unit designed to meet the needs of children with developmental disability and severe behavioral disturbance. Multiple types of disability are represented on the unit, including autism, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Fragile X, various metabolic and other genetic syndromes, traumatic brain injury, post-infectious processes, fetal alcohol syndrome and other toxic exposures, as well as many unknown causes for developmental delay. Regardless of the etiology of the delay, all of the children served on the NBU have concomitant severe behavioral difficulties, which have failed treatment in multiple outpatient modalities. Self-injurious, aggressive and disruptive behaviors are among the most common disturbances treated, and have often resulted in significant injury to self and others prior to admission.

The treatment team on the Neurobehavioral Unit consists of child psychiatrists, pediatric neurologists, pediatric nurse practitioners, behavioral psychologists, social workers, nurses, speech-language therapists and education specialists. A multidisciplinary model is employed to allow the expertise from all disciplines to be merged in the thorough assessment of behavioral and psychiatric pathology and development of an effective treatment regimen for each child. Parent involvement is critical throughout the admission, particularly as the child is ultimately prepared for a successful return to his/her family and community.

Outpatient Programs:

Referrals: All patient referrals to outpatient psychiatry are reviewed by either the clinic or medical director to assure that a patient is appropriate for our clinic. Patients should have a known or suspected developmental disability or be receiving other services within the Institute. If appropriate, the patient referral is then assigned to a clinician(s) who can provide the requested service(s).

The Psychiatric Mental Health Program provides diagnostic evaluation and treatment services for children and adolescents who are having difficulty with mood, behavior, or relationships at home, within the family, at school, and with peers.

The Departments of Psychiatry, Social Work Outpatient and Inpatient Services, and the Psychiatric Mental Health Program are dedicated to achieving excellence in child-family centered mental health care through providing compassionate interdisciplinary clinical care, engaging trainees in a rich mentoring environment, and by furthering best practices through innovative research.

Community Programs:

The Kennedy Krieger Institute established the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress, an outpatient and community-based department within the Division of Psychiatry, to respond to the mental health and developmental needs of children and families affected by abuse, neglect and out-of-home placement. The Family Center provides comprehensive resources for children and families who have experienced trauma. From its inception, the Family Center has maintained a strong commitment to providing services to children in foster care and their caregivers.

The Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress assesses and treats the developmental, emotional and behavioral problems of children and families. The multidisciplinary staff includes child psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, certified professional counselors, a developmental pediatrician, a nurse, a psychiatric rehabilitation counselor, early childhood teachers, family advocates, respite specialists, recreational therapist assistants, case managers. Speech-language and occupational therapists provide services as well.

Teams of clinical professionals provide services to more than 1,000 children and their families each year. Clinic based programs offer integrated services that include psychological and psychiatric assessments, developmental assessments and therapy. Collaborative relationships with schools, day treatment programs, hospitals and other child centered programs are developed and maintained in order to best meet the needs of the individual child and family.

School Programs:

Professional Certifying Organizations:

  • Maryland State Board of Medical Examiners
  • Maryland State Board of Examiners of Psychologists
  • Maryland State Board of Nursing
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


  • American Association of Professional Counselors
  • Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Staffing (Licensure):

Programming is supervised by PhD's licensed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, MD's licensed by the Maryland State Board of Medical Examiners and RN's licensed by the Maryland State Board of Nursing.