Serving youth with mental health and substance abuse problems

John Petrila
Lynn Foster-Johnson
Paul E. Greenbaum

Summarizes the mail survey findings of 1,634 Ss examining the impact of welfare reform, namely the Work and Gain Economic Self Sufficiency (WAGES) program, in 2 urban areas of Florida. The health and mental health status, quality of life, and service needs of adults (aged 21-64 yrs) and children (aged 5-21 yrs) who had left WAGES were compared with those of current recipients. Findings indicate that 60% of the Ss had left WAGES during a 14-mo period. Compared to former WAGES recipients, current Ss reported significantly poorer health and mental health status. Additionally, the children of current Ss had significantly greater health needs than those of former WAGES recipients. Although no group difference existed regarding the children's mental health status, the percentage of children scoring above the criterion was twice the rate that would be expected in a general pediatric sample. Transportation was the only service need in which a significant group difference was found, with current Ss reporting significantly greater need. Current Ss reported significantly lower levels of satisfaction with their leisure opportunities, employment or educational status, financial condition, legal and safety, family's health, and with their overall quality of their lives. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2002 APA, all rights reserved).