Characteristics related to family involvement in youth residential mental health treatment

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Family involvement, Residential treatment, Youth, Mental health, Family Involvement, Mental Health Services, Residential Care, Institutions, Internet, Mental Health Treatment Facilities, Empirical Study, Quantitative Study, Adolescence (13-17 yrs)


This study examined family involvement among youth in residential mental health treatment facilities in Florida. Data were obtained from the provider reports from January 2005 through December 2007. Treatment episodes were divided into 30-day periods with family involvement measured by the number of contacts by all family members, the mother, and the father. In addition, the study examined contacts by all family members for in-person treatment, treatment-related phone contacts, treatment planning, campus visits, and therapeutic home passes. Families averaged 3.4 contacts per 30 days for the 1,333 treatment episodes. Sixty-seven percent of contacts included mothers, while 22% of contacts involved fathers. A majority of contacts were for family therapy, either by phone (29% of contacts) or in person (43%). Nearly twenty percent of residential stays had no family contact. After the first 30 days of treatment, contacts did not vary significantly over the course of the treatment episode, although there was some evidence that youth with longer treatment episodes had fewer contacts throughout the residential stay.

Total contacts were lower for girls than boys, for blacks than whites, for older youth, and were higher when the youth lived in the same county as the residential treatment provider. Outreach programs could target specific demographic groups with low involvement, and alternative methods for involvement that use internet conferencing tools should be explored for parents that live far from the treatment provider.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Robst, J., Armstrong, M. I., Dollard, N., Rohrer, L., Sharrock, P., Batsche, C., & Reader, S. (2013). Characteristics related to family involvement in youth residential mental health treatment. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(1), 40-46. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.10.004