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November 2009Vol. 10, No. 9Involving Youth and Families in Mental Health Treatment

While most treatment providers understand the importance of partnering with families, they continue to need specific, evidence-based strategies to support such partnership efforts. A new report from the Chadwick Center for Children and Families attempts to fill this knowledge gap by offering best practice guidelines for partnering with youth and families receiving mental health treatment for child abuse. Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the report was informed by extensive research as well as input from mental health and child welfare professionals and families involved with both systems.

The report is separated into sections for treatment providers and for agency administrators, highlighting the benefits of youth and family involvement, general recommendations, and strategies for overcoming barriers to involvement. An extensive reference section lists national and State resources and offers information on relevant publications, curricula, toolkits, and DVDs.

The report's key recommendations suggest that treatment providers strive to:

  • Educate and empower youth and families to play an active role in their service delivery
  • Encourage a peer-to-peer network for current and former clients
  • Work collaboratively with other systems affecting their clients

The report recommends that agency administrators implement the following strategies:

  • Create a family advocacy board and/or integrate youth and families into the agency's advisory board
  • Develop partnerships with other systems serving youth and families
  • Revise training programs to emphasize client involvement
  • Integrate youth and family partnership values throughout the agency

The full report, Closing the Quality Chasm in Child Abuse Treatment, Volume II: Partnering With Youth and Families in Mental Health Treatment for Child Abuse, is available on the Chadwick Center website: (1,520 KB)