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Outpatient Treatment for Children Served in Washington's Public Mental Health System: Usage Patterns and Outcomes

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Mason Burley - October 2009

The 2001 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to “conduct a longitudinal study of long-term [mental health] client outcomes to assess any changes in client status at two, five and ten years.”

For this report, we followed 30,055 youth who received individual or family therapy in 2004. We looked at the most significant episode of treatment during the youth’s entire treatment history and found that 17 percent had “one-time” episodes lasting fewer than 30 days, 48 percent had short-term episodes lasting fewer than six months, 10 percent had an episode of intermediate duration (six to 12 months), and 25 percent had a long-term episode lasting longer than 12 months.

Among youth in public mental health care in Washington, 8 percent were in a foster placement following treatment (compared with 1.3 percent of the state population), 10 percent had a criminal conviction in the year following treatment (compared with 2.2 percent of the general population), and less than half (47 percent) of 18-year olds had any paid employment (compared with 88 percent of all 18-year-olds).

Report ID: 09-10-3401

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