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Caregiver Attendance as a Quality Indicator in the Implementation of Multiple Evidence-Based Practices for Children.

  • Author(s): Barnett, Miya L;
  • Lau, Anna S;
  • Lind, Teresa;
  • Wright, Blanche;
  • Stadnick, Nicole A;
  • Innes-Gomberg, Debbie;
  • Pesanti, Keri;
  • Brookman-Frazee, Lauren
  • et al.
Abstract

Objective

This study investigated a quality indicator for children's mental health, caregiver attendance in youth psychotherapy sessions, within a system-driven implementation of multiple evidence-based practices (EBPs) in children's community mental health services.

Method

Administrative claims from nine fiscal years were analyzed to characterize and predict caregiver attendance. Data included characteristics of therapists (n = 8,626), youth clients (n = 134,368), sessions (e.g., individual, family), and the EBP delivered. Clients were primarily Latinx (63%), male (54%) and mean age was 11; they presented with a range of mental health problems. Three-level mixed models were conducted to examine the association between therapist, youth, service, EBP characteristics and caregiver attendance.

Results

Caregivers attended, on average, 46.0% of sessions per client for the full sample and 59.6% of sessions for clients who were clinically indicated, based on age and presenting problem, to receive caregiver-focused treatment. Following initial EBP implementation, the proportion of caregiver attendance in sessions increased over time. Caregivers attended a higher proportion of youth psychotherapy sessions when clients were younger, had an externalizing disorder, were non-Hispanic White, and were male. Further, higher proportions of caregiver attendance occurred when services were delivered in a clinic setting (compared with school and other settings), by bilingual therapists, and the EBP prescribed caregiver attendance in all sessions.

Conclusions

Overall, the patterns of caregiver attendance appear consistent with evidence-informed practice parameters of client presenting problem and age. Yet, several improvement targets emerged such as client racial/ethnic background and service setting. Potential reasons for these disparities are discussed.

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