RehabWire - Volume 11, Number 3, March 2009.

Children's Mental Health

NIDRR research in disabilities affecting children includes special education, technology, physical and occupational therapy, and more. This issue focuses on research in mental health services.

NIDRR Grantees on the Cutting Edge.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Children’s Mental Health University of South Florida (H133B040024) led by Robert Friedman, PhD Bonnie Gracer, Project Officer.
Abstract: The Research and Training Center Children’s Mental Health conducts an integrated set of research projects designed, in the short run, to enhance knowledge about effective implementation of systems of care, and, in the long run, to make it possible for children with serious emotional disturbances to live, learn, work, and thrive in their own communities. The Center has developed a theory of factors that contribute to effective implementation; within that theory is a strong emphasis on the importance of understanding from a systemic perspective the interrelationship between the different factors, and their relationship to the community culture and context in which a service delivery system exists. The Center has a set of six interconnected research projects that use both quantitative and qualitative methods, and are holistic in their focus, to further test and develop its theory. The Center translates new knowledge from research into change in policy and practice through a targeted program of training, consultation, technical assistance, publication, and dissemination. To support these efforts, the Center maintains dissemination partnerships with a range of organizations committed to help present research findings in formats well-suited for key audiences of state and local policy makers, family organizations, researchers, and representatives of related service sectors. This project produces a series of research briefs available from their website and at
Find out more at: 

More than 470,000 children with an emotional disturbance (a broad grouping of mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders) received special education services in the US public school system. Source: Twenty-fourth Annual Report to Congress US Department of Education, 2002. For more info on children disabilities visit

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Community Integration for Individuals with Disabilities, Strengthening Family and Youth Participation in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Portland State University (H133B040038) led by Barbara Friesen, PhD Bonnie Gracer, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project conducts research, training, and technical assistance activities to study and promote effective, community-based, culturally competent, family-centered, individualized, and strength-based services for children and youth with emotional or behavioral disorders and their families. Projects include: (1) “Community Integration (CI) of Transition-Age Youth,” designed to gain understanding of CI and related concepts from the perspectives of transition-age youth, young adults, and caregivers; (2) “Transition to Independence: Outcomes of School-Based Support for Youth with Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities” is evaluating a pilot school-based program that assists participants age 18-21 with mental health and developmental disabilities to successfully transition to employment and appropriate levels of independent living and use of adult social services; (3) “Achieve My Plan (AMP)” [previously Partnerships in Individualized Planning] develops an intervention to increase youth and family member participation in the individualized service planning process, a conceptual framework for understanding recovery in children’s mental health, and ways to reduce stigma; (4) “Work-Life Integration” addresses CI for adult caregivers of children and youth with emotional disorders, specifically around maintaining employment. It is designed to influence human resource professionals’ practice, and aims to reduce stigma and increase organizations’ family friendliness; (5) “Transforming Transitions to Kindergarten” focuses on the preschool-kindergarten transition for young children with challenging behaviors. It develops and tests an intervention promoting children’s successful school entry while empowering caregivers; (6) “Practice-Based Evidence: Building Effectiveness from the Ground Up,” conducts a case study in partnership with a Native American youth organization and the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and addresses the need to study practices that are believed to be helpful, but for which little evidence exists.
Find out more at:

Please note: These abstracts have been modified. Full, unedited abstracts, as well as any available REHABDATA citations, are available at

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is May 7, 2009. It’s sponsored by the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health. Through it, SAMSHA and its initiatives and communities “promote positive youth development, resilience, recovery, and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families.” For more information, visit

Logo for Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

Current Literature: Selections from REHABDATA

Rosenzweig, J., Brennan, M. (2008) Child care and employed parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (JEBD), 16(2), 78-89. NARIC Accession Number: J55140. Project Number: H133B040038; H133B40021; H133B990025.
Abstract: Article presents the findings from interviews conducted with 60 employed parents of school-age children with an emotional or behavioral disorder. Child care arrangements were varied and complex, with parents often making adjustments daily to arrange suitable care for all children in the family. Parental stress levels and work limitations because of child care were associated with levels of work-family fit, work flexibility, child care difficulty, and child care satisfaction.

Walker, J., Coleman, D. (2008) Children’s stigmatization of childhood depression and ADHD: Magnitude and demographic variation in a national sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), 47(8), 1-9. NARIC Accession Number: J55439. Project Number: H133B040038; H133B990025.
Abstract: Study explored the magnitude of stigmatizing attitudes demonstrated by children and adolescents towards peers with disabilities. It also examined differences in the level of stigma by school location, region of the United States, grade level, race/ethnicity, and sex. Participants were randomly assigned to respond to surveys featuring a vignette about a peer with one of three conditions: depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or asthma. Participants responded to items assessing positive and negative attributions, social distance, and family attitudes. Results showed that respondents were more likely to make negative attributions about peers with ADHD and depression versus asthma, particularly regarding the likelihood of antisocial behavior and violence. The level of stigmatization was relatively constant across demographic variables, with the exception of greater stigmatization evident in Asian/Pacific Islander youths.

Jivanjee, P., Koroloff, N. (2008) Starting points for communities developing new transition programs for young people with mental health difficulties. NARIC Accession Number: O17233. Project Number: H133B040038.
Abstract: Document presents practical advice for communities interested in developing transition programs for youth with mental health disorders. The information provided is based on a review of the literature, research conducted with young people 16 to 24 years old and their families, and evaluations completed with several transition service providers.
This document is available online at

Duchnowski, A., Kutash, K. (2007) Family driven care: Are we there yet? NARIC Accession Number: O17088. Project Number: H133B040024.
Abstract: This report acquaints readers with the concept of family-driven care for children who have emotional and behavioral disturbances. The authors provide information about evidence-based practices that are effective interventions to help the children and their families. This information will help families, educators, and mental health service providers plan effective interventions for the children in their care.
This document is available online at

Hernandez, M., Nesman, T. (2007) Examining the research base supporting culturally competent children’s mental health services. NARIC Accession Number: O17120. Project Number: H133B040024.
Abstract: This monograph presents a description and analysis of the research literature related to child and family mental health among African Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, Latinos, and Native Americans. Background information for each of these populations is provided, including population characteristics and community context factors that influence the development, implementation, and operationalization of cultural competence in terms of access, availability, and utilization of mental health services. A conceptual model is introduced to illustrate potential areas of alignment or discordance between cultural/linguistic population characteristics and organizational components (i.e., infrastructure and direct service domains/functions). By examining relationships and potential points of contact, the model is intended to provide a common framework to facilitate alignment between diverse cultural and linguistic populations and mental health service providers. This review is part of a larger study focusing on access to mental health services for culturally and linguistically diverse children and families.
This document is available online at

Newman, C., Liberton, C. (2007) 19th annual research conference proceedings: A system of care for children’s mental health: Expanding the research base, February 22-24, 2006, Tampa, Florida. NARIC Accession Number: O17121. Project Number: H133B040024.
Abstract: Book presents the proceedings of an annual conference on children’s mental health service delivery system. It provides an overview of the conference presentations ands addresses many aspects of current design, implementation, and evaluation of systems of care for children and their families. Chapters are organized around central topics featured during the conference: (1) implementing systems of care, (2) implementing and evaluating evidence-based practices, (3) strengths and family-driven services, (4) system navigation and clinical outcomes in a system of care, (5) interventions in early childhood, (6) school-based mental health services, (7) youth voice and transition services, (8) collaboration and services within the juvenile justice population, (9) wraparound implementation, (10) issues in understanding and treating trauma victims, (11)strategies for continuous quality improvement and financing, and (12) instrumentation and methodology.
This document is available online at

logo for the Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Collaboration has 21 reviews focused on children’s mental health. It also lists 16 other reviews, 389 clinical trials, 5 methods studies, 5 technology assessments, and 73 economic evaluations. Visit and search children mental health to review these results.

Walker, J. Powers, L. (2007) Introduction to the youth self-efficacy scale/mental health and the youth participation in planning scale. NARIC Accession Number: O17127. Project Number: H133B040038.
Abstract: Report provides information about 2 new measures that are highly relevant to research and evaluation in children’s mental health. The first measure, the Youth Self-Efficacy Scale/Mental Health (YSES/MH), was designed to assess youth perceptions of self-efficacy with respect to managing their own mental health conditions, managing their own services and supports, and using their experience and knowledge to help peers and improve service systems. The second measure, the Youth Participation in Planning (YPP) scale, assesses youth perceptions of whether interdisciplinary teams that create service, care, or treatment plan support meaningful youth participation in the planning process. Preview versions of the YSES/MH and the YPP are included.
This document is available online at

Hepburn, K., Kaufman, R. (2007) Early childhood mental health consultation: An evaluation tool kit. NARIC Accession Number: O17292. Project Number: H133B040038.
Abstract: This resource combines a brief review of the literature and current research addressing the effectiveness of early childhood mental health consultation with guidance for designing and implementing program evaluation. It will help states, communities, and programs increase their capacity for high-quality evaluation of early childhood mental health consultation in community-based settings. Researchers, policy makers and program evaluation teams will find: (1) a brief review of the evidence base, current issues, and questions; (2) defining characteristics of early childhood mental health consultation; (3) components of high quality evaluation and sample logic models; (4) evaluation tools to measure both process and outcome, including outcomes for children, families, staff and programs; and (5) guidance for using evaluation data for program improvement and communicating outcomes.
This document is available online at

Jivanjee, P., Kruzich, J. (2007) Community integration of transition-age individuals: Views of young with mental health disorders. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 17. NARIC Accession Number: J54232. Project Number: H133B040038.
Abstract: This study examined perceptions of community integration in young adults with mental health disorders transitioning to adulthood. Focus groups were conducted with 59 young men and women to better understand what community integration means to them. Discussion explored barriers and supports for community integration, as well as the participants’ goals for the future and their advice to others facing similar challenges. Primary themes that emerged from the data provide descriptions of the participants experiences and perspectives related to forming connections with others; deciding whether or not to tell others about their mental health; their need for practical, accessible supports and services; challenges and successes in the educational system; finding meaningful adult roles; searching for a place to call home; and finding personal fulfillment.

Davis, M., Koroloff, N. (2007) The great divide: How mental health policy fails young adults. Research in Community and Mental Health, 14, 53-74. NARIC Accession Number: J54421. Project Number: H133B040038.
Abstract: Through analysis of federal and state policies, this article examines the impact of age-based population policies on continuity of mental health care for youth as they transition from the child system into adulthood. The findings suggest that many youth encounter barriers to access because of age-based population policies, which do not take into account individual developmental differences.

Where Can I Find More? A quick keyword search is all you need to connect to a wealth of disability and rehabilitation research. NARIC’s databases hold more than 75,000 resources. Visit to search for literature, current and past research projects, and organizations and agencies in the US and abroad.