The relationship of needs assessed at entry into out-of-home care to children and youth's later emotional and behavioral problems in care

Theodore P. Cross*, Steve P. Tran, Eliza Betteridge, Robert Hjertquist, Tawny Spinelli, Jennifer Prior, Neil Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Screening children who are entering out-of-home care is widely implemented but not thoroughly studied. This study examines whether emotional and behavioral needs identified by an Integrated Assessment (IA) at entry predict needs and services while in care. Data from the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) measure completed in the IA were combined with data from a point-in-time study of the well-being of children in out-of-home care. Logistic regression analyses found that having a need identified at entry predicted having a similar need and receiving mental health services during out-of-home care (p < .05 to p < .001). The relationship did not diminish with length of time in care; IA CANS predicted needs and services even for children in out-of-home care for many years. These results provide evidence for the validity of the IA CANS for screening for children's needs in out-of-home care. The persistence of problems suggests the value of baseline screening as a guide for service delivery throughout children's stay in care, and the need for more effective mental health services specially tailored for children in out-of-home care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105896
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume122
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Behavioral health services
  • Behavioral needs
  • Emotional needs
  • Foster care
  • Integrated assessment
  • Mental health services
  • Out-of-home care
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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