In The News

New Study Groups Youth by Needs in Systems of Care to Improve Treatment Outcomes

More youth with emotional and behavioral health challenges are accessing Wraparound and Care Coordination services through Systems of Care (SOC). While these services are specifically designed to support youth with complex needs across multiple systems, little is known about the outcomes of these services for youth with specified needs at intake.

CHDI’s Jeana Bracey, Ph.D, Associate Vice President of School and Community Initiatives, co-authored a new study, published in this month’s Children and Youth Services Review, that contributes to a better understanding of the characteristics and outcomes of youth with specific needs who received Wraparound Care Coordination.

The study - co-authored with Yale University’s Madeline R. Stenersen, Alayna Schreier, Michael J. Strambler, and Joy S. Kaufman and Tim Marshall of the Connecticut Department of Children & Families - aimed to identify patterns of needs upon entry to services, group youth according to these patterns, and determine how these needs were linked to individual or family characteristics and youth outcomes.

Using a latent class analysis of data from 1,243 families who received wraparound care coordination services within Connecticut’s statewide SOC, the researchers identified five distinct classes or groups of youth needs:

1. Behavioral needs
2. ADHD-related behavior needs
3. Educational needs
4. Mental health needs
5. Multi-needs

By individualizing care based on these needs, families across classes showed decreased problem behaviors and trauma symptoms, improved functioning, and decreased strain on caregivers throughout treatment. In addition, caregivers reported feeling respected by care coordination providers as participants in their child’s treatment and satisfaction with the services they received.

While this study focused on the needs of youth, previous research by these authors focused on the needs of caregivers. The previous study found that by grouping caregivers’ needs into four categories upon intake -- physical health needs, basic needs, mental health/trauma needs, or no needs—SOC providers can better predict how likely caregivers are to engage in, benefit from, and complete the service so that they could better individualize services to improve outcomes.

“Together, these studies emphasize the benefits of an individualized and comprehensive approach to Wraparound Care Coordination within Systems of Care,” says Bracey. “With a better understanding of the specific needs of youth and their families, providers can more effectively target services, leading to better care and outcomes.”

Review the full study methodology and findings in the Children and Youth Services Review.

Learn more about CHDI’s work to strengthen Systems of Care.

Staff Contacts

Jeana Bracey, Ph.D. - Associate Vice President of School and Community Initiatives