Multi-system approach helps youth with behavioral health needs

Behavioral health challenges faced by children, adolescents, and young adults can be compounded when youth cross systems such as child welfare, juvenile justice, and education.

Federal, state, and local organizations work toward addressing the needs of youth with behavioral health issues that cross over multiple agencies. Finding solutions  helps  coordinate a collaborative approach, bridging and integrating efforts across agencies.

Multi-disciplinary, multi-system approach

Westat’s Center for Youth With Multi-System Involvement provides the bridge for this challenge. It connects cross-connecting questions to subject matter teams. Its mission is to provide research and evaluation that informs policy, systems development, and service delivery under one roof. The center performs extensive work in juvenile justice, behavioral health, education, child welfare, and pediatric primary care.

Helping children and youth early on

Westat is using a multi-system approach to assess how coordinated specialty care programs supported with the Mental Health Block Grant 10 Percent set-aside are meeting needs. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Westat is assessing social, clinical, and functional outcomes for patients experiencing first-episode psychosis.

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The challenge that behavioral health and child welfare experts are facing is to create integrated, coordinated, and holistic approaches to help these youth and their families who are being shuffled from agency to agency. 

- Abram Rosenblatt, Ph.D., Director of Westat’s Center for Youth With Multi-System Involvement

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