Fragmentation in the systems of care has been widely reported by the child mental health community. The purpose of the present, highly focused multiple-case study was to describe interagency collaboration at the service delivery level for children in state custody who are identified as emotionally disturbed by the public school system under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). The study was framed in the traditions of interorganizational relations and social psychology.
The case study method employed in this research was developed by Yin (2003) and is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context. For the purposes of this research, a focus group comprised of professionals who are liaisons between the Department of Children's Services and the public school system was used as a method of data triangulation and methodological triangulation to establish the validity of the case study.
Results of this study indicate that while service system personnel collaborate routinely, proactive interagency service planning for children with emotional disturbance in state custody occurs infrequently. Public school personnel are rarely included in collaborative team planning at the child welfare agency. Liaison-level staff employed by the stakeholder agencies in this community offer the most promise for the rigorous application of the system of care model and must be the focus of cross-agency personnel development and training in principles of proactive service planning, and case management. The remedy for fragmented services is to "close the system" (Lewin, 1951) by focusing financial resources, training, and administrative mandates to collaborate at the interagency liaison staff level.
Findings from this study suggest that each U.S. community would benefit from a focused examination of the points of strength in that communities' unique interagency collaborative environment.
|Advisor:||Boxill, Nancy A.|
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Social work, Special education, Public policy|
|Keywords:||Child mental health, Child welfare, Emotional disturbance, Foster care, Interagency collaboration, Service provision, Special education, State custody, Systems of care|
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