, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 367-383

Factors Predicting Attrition Within a Community Initiated System of Care

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We designed this study to elucidate child, family, and service level characteristics that may influence attrition from a continuum of care developed and maintained by a community initiated collaboration of local clinics and agencies. Subjects included 117 children and adolescents referred to the Middlesex County system of care from 1992–1999. Data were collected through a retrospective case review. The strongest predictors of attrition from the system of care both before and after the establishment of an individualized service plan included depressed/isolated symptoms, substance abuse, general risk for psychiatric problems, number of referral reasons and urgency status at program intake. Among youth exiting residential placement, those completing recommended services were more likely to be returned home earlier or within the expected time frame than were dropouts. Our study presents important preliminary findings regarding characteristics related to treatment adherence within a community initiated systems of care.