Youths living away from families in the US mental health system: Opportunities for targeted intervention

Kathleen J. Pottick, Lynn A. Warner, Kevin A. Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study examines the clinical characteristics of youths who lived away from families at the time of admission to specialty mental health services, and investigates the association between type of nonfamily living situation and admission to residential versus outpatient programs. Of 3995 youths sampled from 1598 mental health programs in the United States, 14% lived away from their own families, either in foster care, group care settings, or correctional settings, or were emancipated. As a group, youths living away from families were more seriously emotionally disturbed and more likely to receive treatment in residential care programs. Youths who lived in foster care were more likely to be admitted to outpatient programs, while youths who lived in group care settings or correctional settings were more likely to be admitted to residential care programs, controlling on demographic and clinical characteristics. Targeting resources to enhance the availability and therapeutic capacity of foster care may facilitate community living, and decrease time spent in institutional settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-281
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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