Serving Children with Serious Emotional Disturbance in a System of Care: Do Mental Health and Non-Mental Health Agency Referrals Look the Same

Christine M. Walrath, Kim J. Nickerson, Raymond L. Crowel, Philip J. Leaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children in need of mental health services do not constitute a homogeneous group. Important to this discussion is an examination of the diverse presenting problems and psychosocial histories of children referred by different service agencies. Using data from the East Baltimore Mental Health Partnership (EBMHP), we determined whether and how children referred to the EBMHP from a traditional mental health center differed from children referred to the EBMHP by non-mental health agencies. Data on demography, family background, and child and family functioning were collected on 254 children and their families. The analyses confirmed that children with serious emotional disturbance served in a system of care and their families are not homogeneous. Children and their families differed in terms of their sociodemographic characteristics and psychosocial adjustment depending on their referral source. These differences are discussed in terms of service planning and delivery, as well as theoretical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-213
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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