• Journal Article

Lost in transition: Illicit substance use and services receipt among at-risk youth in the child welfare system

Citation

Casanueva, C., Stambaugh, L., Urato, M., Fraser, J. G., & Williams, J. (2011). Lost in transition: Illicit substance use and services receipt among at-risk youth in the child welfare system. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(10), 1939-1949.

Abstract

This study examined the use of mental health and substance abuse services among adolescents in the child welfare system (CWS) who reported use of illicit substances. 1004 adolescents age 11-15 years at baseline were followed for 5-7 years. over five waves of data collection. Shortly after the investigation for maltreatment (baseline), 69.1% of youths using illicit substances received mental health and/or substance abuse outpatient specialty services. By the last follow-up, during the transition to adulthood, only 21.5% of young adults using illicit substances received outpatient specialty services. Youth who used illicit substances were more likely to receive outpatient and inpatient specialty services than non-users at the time of contact with the CWS (mostly baseline), but this difference faded over the follow-up period. By 5-7 years follow-up, there was no significant difference in specialty services receipt for illicit substances users versus non-users. Predictors of outpatient service use at most waves were having Medicaid, mental health needs, and having recently seen a school counselor or primary care physician. Among illicit substance users transitioning to adulthood. African American youths were less likely to receive outpatient specialty services than White youths. These findings reveal a need for more attention to illicit substances use among youth in the CWS, better cross agency integration, and special attention to the needs of transition-age youth to better connect them with services as they age out of the CWS. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved