Predicting service utilization with the child and adolescent functional assessment scale in a sample of youths with serious emotional disturbance served by center for mental health services-funded demonstrations

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This study investigated level of restrictiveness of living arrangements and number of days in out-of-family care at six months postintake, based on the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), gender, age, and level of family income at intake. It was composed of youths who met the criteria for serious emotional disturbance (SED) and were for the most part living in families that are described as socioeconomically disadvantaged. A multinomial logit model was used in the analysis of level of restrictiveness of living arrangements, and an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression model was conducted on number of days in out-of-family care. The CAFAS score at intake was found to be a significant predictor of service utilization between intake and six months and was a more consistent predictor than the CBCL. Results suggest that the CAFAS can be used to match service needs with resource allocation and to monitor performance-based outcome indicators.