Community Homes as Hospital Alternatives for Youth in Crisis

  • Bryan D. Brook
  • Paula Walker


There is increasing stress upon community mental health centers to be involved with and provide 24-hour care for children and adolescents. Much of this pressure results from the trend to deinstitutionalize patients and to also avert psychiatric hospitalizations via alternative community settings. Since its inception, Southwest Denver Community Mental Health Center, Inc., has adopted the philosophy of keeping severely disturbed persons in natural environments rather than institutional care (Brook, 1973; Brook, Cortes, March, & Stirling, 1976; Brook, Kirby, & Vollman, 1976; Polak & Kirby, 1976). During the past three years, prehospital community alternative homes have expanded from treatment of adults to diversion of seriously disturbed adolescents and children from psychiatric hospitalization. One pointed view regarding treatment outcome of adolescents stipulates that:

Traditionally, the treatment of choice for severely disturbed and hard to manage psychotic children has involved institutional placement.... However, clinical observation suggests that institutionalization frequently has a disruptive effect on childrens’ emotional and intellectual development. (Flomenhaft, 1974)

Southwest Denver’s alternative home system seeks to maintain distressed youth in their own community and build upon existing support and family structures as part of its comprehensive community mental health center programs.


Foster Care Community Mental Health Community Mental Health Center Community Home Foster Home 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan D. Brook
    • 1
  • Paula Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.DenverUSA

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