Author(s): Montoya LA, Giardino AP, Leventhal JM
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To survey the self-perceived capability of medically oriented child maltreatment teams in the US to provide mental health referrals and services when needed and to evaluate children with special health care needs (CSHCN). METHODS: Mailed questionnaire with 5 items related to mental health, 12 items on services for CSHCN, and 28 items on financial issues previously reported. RESULTS: Responses were received from 320 of 472 organizations (67.8\%); 153 respondents had at least 1 physician or nurse practitioner and were included in the analysis; 91 were hospital-based teams (HBTs); and 62 were community-based teams (CBTs). CBTs were significantly more likely to offer mental health treatment (65.0\% vs 35.6\%). When mental health services were needed in another language, only half (50.7\%) indicated that services were available in Spanish, less than a third (29.3\%) could find services in sign language, and only 20.3\% expected to find services for patients who used other languages. Of all children evaluated, 31.2\% had special health care needs. CBTs reported seeing significantly more CSHCN than HBTs (38.3\% vs 26.5\%). Over two-thirds (67.7\%) did not have a special program or specialized staff to serve CSHCN. Overall, teams had some training and experience with CSHCN. Children who were deaf were evaluated by 84.5\% of teams, while only 50.5\% reported using professionally trained sign language interpreters. Most teams (82.2\%) indicated that more time was needed to evaluate CSHCN, and 69.1\% found arranging for mental health treatment for CSHCN more difficult than children without special needs. CONCLUSIONS: Medically oriented child maltreatment teams are generally able to arrange for mental health services for the children served, and most feel capable of serving CSHCN. Significantly more mental health service providers are needed for children and families who communicate in languages other than English (e.g., Spanish, American Sign Language [ASL]). PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Our results suggest that medically oriented child maltreatment teams and mental health services for maltreated children would improve gaps in services by: (1) recruiting and training bilingual professionals, (2) ensuring that children or family members who are deaf receive professional ASL services, and (3) ensuring that training is provided related to the needs of CSHCN. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Child Abuse Negl
and referenced in Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health