Reducing Out of Community Placement in Multi-Problem Youth: The Importance of Local Context of Youth Treatment and Processing

Michele Grillo, Rutgers University
Zachary Hamilton, Rutgers University
Christopher J. Sullivan, Rutgers University
Bonita M. Veysey, Rutgers University

ABSTRACT
The Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Project (MH/JJ) is an 11 county diversion program for delinquent youth who have an identified mental health and/or substance abuse need, and who are believed to be able to benefit from community-based treatment. One of the primary goals of the Project is to reduce out of community placements, including detention. The current study focuses on individual sites to examine differences in reduction of out-of-community placement over time. The 11 sites represent a broad spectrum of implementation strategies while delivering a core set of services. Sites vary geographically from urban to rural, range in size and ethnic diversity, differ on the point of contact from intake to supervision cases, and in the organization of services and lead agencies. These counties may have different treatment models and point of intervention, which affects youth outcomes. Results of multivariate regression suggest that project site is a strong predictor of out-of-community placement, controlling for several key covariates. The current study utilizes Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) to further disentangle the effects of project site on overall reductions in out-of-community placement. This analysis will inform discussion on effective diversion and treatment strategies for youth with mental health and/or substance abuse problems.

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Updated 05/20/2006