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Developing a Community-Based Care System for Seriously Emotionally Disabled Children and Youth

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  • Psychology


The needs of emotionally disabled children and their families are not optimally served within traditional mental health service delivery systems. Policies are inadequate, delivery systems are insufficient and underfunded, and supporting research is sparse. As communities begin addressing the needs of the seriously emotionally disabled child and family, planning should address community coordinated services. Such systems, however, are not easily established and maintained in communities accustomed to addressing children's needs in terms of existing fragmented categorical structures. National models exist but care and time are required to adapt critical elements from these models to local need. This article will review the rationale for integrated community-based, case management services for children and adolescents. A case example is offered illustrating issues affecting the development of one community support system.

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