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Adm Policy Ment Health. 2013 Jul;40(4):286-99. doi: 10.1007/s10488-012-0419-7.

The use of a participatory approach to develop a framework for assessing quality of care in children's mental health services.

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Department of Child and Family Studies, University of South Florida, 13301 Bruce B Downs, Blvd. MHC 2420, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


The purpose of this study was to develop a framework for assessing the quality of children's mental health services that reflects the primary concerns and perspectives of diverse stakeholders. A participatory research approach was adopted in order to incorporate caregivers of children with mental health problems, mental health service providers, and managed care administrators in identifying and developing quality of care indicators and methods for assessment. This research occurred in three phases that moved from very qualitative and exploratory to more quantitative as we sought to refine and verify the resulting Quality of Care Framework. We found that the use of a participatory approach was beneficial in ensuring the validity of research tools and utility of the framework, and also greatly increased the sense of ownership of research findings among participants.

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