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Child Abuse Negl. 2004 Jun;28(6):699-714.

Outpatient mental health services for children in foster care: a national perspective.

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  • 1Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, 3020 Children's Way, MC 5033, San Diego, CA 92123-4282, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine factors influencing the use of outpatient mental health services provided by mental health professionals (OMHS) for children in foster care using a national probability sample in the United States.

METHOD:

As part of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being, detailed survey data were collected on 462 children, ages 2-15, who had been in out-of-home care for approximately 12 months at the time of sampling. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine how clinical need, as measured by a Total Problem, Externalizing, or Internalizing Scale T-score of 64 or greater on the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and non-clinical factors affected OSMHS use.

RESULTS:

Over half of the children in the sample received at least one OMHS. Need, older age, and history of sexual abuse history all positively predicted OMHS. A history of physical neglect negatively predicted OSMHS. African-Americans used fewer services than children of Caucasian ancestry at all values on the CBCL. This finding was particularly salient at lower levels of CBCL scores; at higher levels, the discrepancy in the use of services diminished but the proportion of children receiving services remained lower for African-American children.

CONCLUSIONS:

This national study confirms previous findings regarding the use of mental health services based on regional data. Limitations in the use of services imposed by non-clinical factors, specifically, age, race/ethnicity and type of abuse, need to be examined in order to address implicit and explicit policies and practices that may result in inequitable distribution of services.

PMID:
15193856
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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