Serving children with SED in urban systems of care: Referral agency differences in child characteristics in Baltimore and the Bronx

Christine M. Walrath, Mark J. Sharp, Michael Zuber, Philip J. Leaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Although children with serious emotional disturbances (SED) being served within urban system-of-care settings do indeed share some common characteristics, differences in psychosocial, sociodemographic, life functioning, and behavioral characteristics emerge as a function of their referral source. Using data from the East Baltimore Mental Health Partnership (EBMHP) and the Families Reaching in Ever New Directions (FRIENDS) program in the South Bronx, we explored the characteristic similarities and differences of children being served in community-similar urban systems of care as a function of their referral source. Demographics, family backgrounds, and child and family functioning were collected on 696 children referred into service at either the EBMHP or the FRIENDS program. The analyses indicated that children with SED served within urban systems of care and their families do not share uniform sociodemographic and psychosocial profiles as a function of the agency from which they were referred. The service planning and delivery implications, as well as the theoretical considerations associated with these differences are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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