School of Social Work Dean Richard Barth is the lead author of new research published in the journal Children and Youth Services Review. The article is titled "Partnering for Success: Implementing a cross-systems collaborative model between behavioral health and child welfare."
Many children and youth involved with child welfare services receive mental health services. Yet, substantial evidence suggests efforts are frequently uncoordinated and clinical outcomes are inconsistent. Enhancing the coordination of mental health services is a potential mechanism for improving outcomes when combined with the use of evidence-based practices. The Partnering for Success (PfS) model provides comprehensive coordination support while ensuring children and youth have access to cognitive-behavioral approaches to treating anxiety, depression, and trauma, and/or a parent management approach for behavior problems. PfS leverages a co-training collaborative model for mental health and child welfare professionals to understand the optimal interplay between professionals and families and the targeting of treatment. PfS uses a High-Fidelity Performance Indicator framework organized and assessed at two distinct levels: (1) Delivery System Partnership & Leadership Performance and (2) Child Welfare & Mental Health Workforce Performance. Results across four sites indicate that the model is generally feasible and training efforts result in significant knowledge gain for child welfare workers and mental health practitioners. Over the course of the project, 2285 clients were served using the clinical model and, across all treatment targets, significant improvements in symptoms were observed. The results of this collaborative model are sustained implementation of mental health services that are evidence-based, coordinated between child welfare workers and mental health practitioners, and offered evidence of improved mental health treatment outcomes.