Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 233–253 | Cite as

The Organizational Context of Children's Mental Health Services

  • Charles Glisson


This paper reviews what is known about the organizational context of children's mental health services and describes organizational constructs, conceptual models, research methods, and intervention strategies that can be used to link organizational context to service quality and outcomes. Using evidence from studies of business and industrial organizations as well as studies of children's service organizations, the paper presents a model of organizational effectiveness that depends on several contextual characteristics that include organizational culture, structure, climate, and work attitudes. These characteristics are believed to affect the adoption of efficacious treatments (EBPs [evidence-based practices]), adherence to treatment protocols, therapeutic alliance, and the availability, responsiveness, and continuity of services. Finally, 10 components of the ARC(Availability Responsiveness and Continuity) organizational intervention are described as examples of strategies that can be used to develop organizational contexts with the prescribed characteristics. Mental health researchers are encouraged to consider including these constructs, conceptual models, research methods, and intervention strategies in dissemination, effectiveness, and implementation studies that address the gap between research-based knowledge about mental health treatment and what is actually offered in the community.

children mental health services organizational context treatment effectiveness 


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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Glisson
    • 1
  1. 1.Children's Mental Health Services Research CenterThe University of TennesseeKnoxville

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