Troubled youth in transition: An evaluation of Connecticut's special services for individuals aging out of adolescent mental health programs Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Abstract Like many areas of the United States, Connecticut has faced a pressing need for specialized services for young individuals with psychiatric disabilities who have been “aging out” of the child and/or adolescent mental health service system(s). Beginning in 1997, Connecticut began to address this need, in part, through implementation of a Young Adult Services (YAS) program, designed to provide young individuals with moderate to severe symptoms of mental illness with comprehensive services and supports. Recently, a multi-method evaluation of selected components of the YAS program was undertaken in order to provide descriptive information on client characteristics and psychological functioning; to identify program components related to positive client outcomes; and to present qualitative data on clients' experiences in the program and other relevant areas. Results of the evaluation suggest that the YAS program has achieved considerable success at meeting the complex needs of its clients, including assisting them with transitions to more independent living in the community. Among other significant findings is the importance of strengths- and community-focused treatment components to successful outcomes. Strengths- and community-focused components were found to be associated with fewer symptoms, less loneliness, fewer reported problems, higher functioning, and greater satisfaction with services. The presence of community-focused treatment planning also offered a significant contribution to fewer arrests among this sample of YAS clients. In addition, longer program tenure was a significant predictor of greater satisfaction with services and higher quality of life. These findings and their implications for program development targeting the needs of young adults with psychiatric disabilities are discussed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2006