Friday, June 15, 2012

Mental Health Care Services Lacking for Children Referred to Child Welfare Agencies

Child-welfare agencies are failing their charges when it comes to mental health treatment. That's the conclusion of researchers in a study in the June Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. They examined the prevalence/predictors of mental health problems and services use in children aged 12 to 36 months who had been investigated because of alleged maltreatment. Data came from the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a longitudinal study of youth under age 18 referred to child-welfare agencies. Sociodemographic, social services, developmental, and health data were collected on the children and caregivers. Outcomes were scores on the Brief Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment Scales for children aged 12 to 18 months and the Child Behavior Checklist for children 19 to 36 months.

They found that just 2.2 percent of the children with identified mental health problems received a mental health service. When parenting skills training that might be related to the treatment of child problems was included, 19.2 percent received a service. "The lack of services received by these young, multi-challenged children is a services system and social policy failure."

For the latest research and clinical information about mental health problems of children and teens, see the Concise Guide to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Fourth Edition, available from American Psychiatric Publishing, here.

(Image: Anna Jurkovska/


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