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