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Mental health services for children and youth in the child welfare system: A focus on caregivers as gatekeepers

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  • Villagrana, Margarita
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    Caregivers serve as gatekeepers for children while in the child welfare system, but few studies have focused on the caregiver and the factors that influence the use of mental health services for the children under their care. The purpose of this study was to examine the child's mental health need, the caregiver's level of stress, depression, and social support, and the utilization of mental health services by children using the three most common types of caregivers in the child welfare system (i.e., birth parent, relative caregiver, and foster parent). Data comes from the Patterns of Care (POC) study of five public sectors of care. The present study examined parents/caregivers and youth from the child welfare sector. Findings suggest that while birth parents were more likely to endorse more risk factors for themselves, and the children under their care had a higher level of mental health need, they were the least likely to utilize mental health services for the children under their care. Implications for the child welfare and mental health systems are discussed.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.

    Volume (Year): 32 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 691-697

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:32:y:2010:i:5:p:691-697
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    1. Garland, Ann F. & Besinger, Bridgett A., 1997. "Racial/Ethnic Differences in Court Referred Pathways to Mental Health Services for Children in Foster Care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 651-666, December.
    2. Shore, Nancy & Sim, Kelly E. & Le Prohn, Nicole S. & Keller, Thomas E., 2002. "Foster parent and teacher assessments of youth in kinship and non-kinship foster care placements: are behaviors perceived differently across settings?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 109-134.
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