HD49 - Youth with Emotional Disturbance Requiring Out-of-Home Treatment
House Joint Resolution 119 directed the Commission on Youth to study children and youth with serious emotional disturbance requiring out-of-home placement. The resolution instructed the Commission to develop and implement a methodology for accurately determining the number of children with serious emotional disturbance in need of out-of-home placement. The resolution outlined goals for both the first year and second year of the study.
The Commission established an Advisory Group to provide oversight and direction. The Advisory Group identified both child and family characteristics, which define the youth with serious emotional disturbance in need of out-of-home placement. For a child to be considered as a child with serious emotional disturbance in need of out-of-home placement (SED-OH), he or she must meet certain characteristics as well as live with a caregiver that exhibits certain family characteristics.
The Commission contracted with the Applied Social Psychology Research Institute, in the Department of Psychology at the College of William and Mary to assist in the data collection effort. In the fall of 2000, the principal investigator, John B. Nezlek, Ph.D., of the College of William and Mary, conducted a survey that was designed to provide the Virginia Commission on Youth with an estimate of the number of children in the Commonwealth who experienced severe emotional disturbance in need of out-of-home placement (SED-OH). In the search for this information, the Advisory Group identified key local informants:
• Chair, Community Policy Management Team (CMPT)
• Director, Department of Social Services (DSS)
• Director, Court Service Unit (CSU)
• Director, Community Services Board (CSB)
• Director, Special Education Services (SpEd)
The survey asked key informants in 26 selected communities to describe the SED-OH cases with which they were familiar. The SED-OH rates then were obtained by comparing these reports to population estimates. At the Commission on Youth's December 19, 2000, meeting, the survey results were presented. Upon reviewing the preliminary data, three recommendations were made.
The Commission on Youth, in conjunction with the College of William and Mary, should examine the reports of local agencies in which no qualifying cases were reported in the initial survey results from local Departments of Social Services, Court Services Units, Community Services Boards, and Special Education Departments to determine their accuracy.
The Commission on Youth, in conjunction with the College of William and Mary, should consider investigating reports from individual agencies that constituted less than 5% of the total reports in their respective communities.
The Commission on Youth, in conjunction with the College of William and Mary, should organize the data by regions (not locality) as the unit of analysis.