Hope, compassion, support, and help for behaviorally challenging kids and their caregivers


• In too many places – homes, schools, mental health settings, therapeutic facilities, and in the juvenile justice system -- behaviorally challenging kids are still poorly understood, and treated in ways that are punitive, adversarial, reactive, unilateral, ineffective, and counterproductive. This scenario places these kids at serious risk for a variety of adverse outcomes.

• Thanks to the sizeable body of research that has accumulated over the past 50 years, significant progress has been made in our understanding of the factors underlying challenging behavior, and points toward lagging skills (rather than lagging motivation) as the key factor. However, this research has been slow to influence assessment and treatment in many settings.


• Advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their caregivers, call attention to specific situations and settings in which these kids are still being treated in ways that are counterproductive and ineffective, and provide vital resources so that people and settings get the information they need to change course and move away from punitive, adversarial, unilateral, reactive interventions and toward interventions that are non-punitive, non-adversarial, collaborative, proactive, skill-building, and relationship-enhancing.

• Provide free, web-based resources – on Dr. Ross Greene’s empirically-supported Collaborative & Proactive Solutions* model and other non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions – to help people understand behaviorally challenging kids in ways that are more compassionate, accurate, and productive and intervene in ways that are more effective.

• Collaborate with organizations disseminating other non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions and with stakeholders who care about and support behaviorally challenging kids and their caregivers for the purpose of moving this agenda forward...focused first in the state of Maine, and then replicated elsewhere.


The Website: The Lives in the Balance website provides a vast array of free, web-based resources on Dr. Greene’s Collaborative & Proactive Solutions* model and links to resources on other non-punitive, non-adversarial models of intervention, and includes demonstration videos, live radio programs, and an immense listening library.

Be the Voice Advocacy Program: We take action whenever we learn of situations in which behaviorally challenging kids are treated in ways that are inhumane, ineffective and counterproductive. Advocacy programs and initiatives include:

Care Package Program: We send free information to facilities, organizations, and systems that are still utilizing punitive, adversarial interventions.

Advocacy Action Network: Mass emails are sent to organizations and agencies that are still treating kids in ways that are counterproductive and ineffective, and urging movement toward non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions.

Advocacy Information Network: Our activists keep us informed of how behaviorally challenging kids are being treated in their communities and alert us to problems so Lives in the Balance can spring into action.

• Annual Summit: The annual Lives in the Balance International Summit on Non-Punitive, Non-Adversarial Interventions for At-Risk Kids is held every fall in Portland, Maine, and brings together advocates for learning, brainstorming, and galvanizing.

Public Awareness Campaign: Through poignant messages in various media formats, we call attention to the harm done by punitive, adversarial interventions and help people view behaviorally challenging kids in ways that are more compassionate, accurate, and productive.

The Maine Project: Maine has already made significant progress in moving toward non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions for at-risk kids -- especially in its juvenile detention facilities and schools -- but there’s a lot more work to be done. Lives in the Balance is doing its part by partnering with other stakeholders in educating and providing resources and training to various constituencies, including parents, educators, pediatricians and family physicians, mental health professionals, and the juvenile justice system.

These initiatives are supported by the generous donations of the members of the Lives in the Balance Founder's Circle.  If you'd like to make a donation to support our efforts, please contact us!

*Due to legal action taken by Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Greene is prohibited from referring to the model he originated by the name Collaborative Problem Solving, though most of his prior books, articles, chapters, and research papers refer to the model by that name. He now calls his model Collaborative & Proactive Solutions.