, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 57-67

Where Have All the Children Gone? Movement from Child to Adult Mental Health Systems

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Abstract

The mental health histories of the 448 children 15 and 16 years of age who were admitted to state-operated children's psychiatric inpatient services in New York during 1982 were reviewed for the 11 year period through April 1993, Thirty-three percent were served as adults (after age 18) in the state-operated adult civil mental health system; 42% of these individuals were still receiving services at the end of the period. 113 of the 146 individuals served as adults were served only in the civil system. Thirteen percent of the cohort received some of their mental health services as adults in the state-operated adult forensic mental health system due to criminal law involvement. This includes nine percent who received mental health services while they were inmates in state prisons. Twenty four of the 57 forensic clients received services as adults only in the forensic system. Diagnostic, demographic, and service history characteristics of the groups were compared to foster an early understanding of policy and programmatic issues related to movement from the child mental health system to the adult system. Baseline (1982) information was used to identify predictors of later service utilization.