Topic: Behavioral Management Programs for Adolescents in Child Welfare
Definition for Behavioral Management Programs for Adolescents in Child Welfare:
Behavioral Management Programs for Adolescents in Child Welfare are defined by the CEBC as programs that help manage the behavior of adolescents in the Child Welfare system. Behaviors targeted include general disruptive behaviors (e.g., arguing and back talk), delinquent behaviors (e.g., petty theft and vandalism), truancy, and running away from out-of-home placements (commonly called being AWOL). In essence, these are the behaviors that may lead to a foster caregiver or group home asking the social worker to find a different placement for the child that is exhibiting these behaviors. Programs may work directly with youth and families, or train caregivers and staff on ways to handle behavior problems more effectively.
Studies have shown that youth involved with child welfare have higher than average rates of behavior problems in general, and are more likely to exhibit externalizing behaviors. Among youth in foster care, at least one study has shown that rates of delinquent and aggressive behavior were twice as high as those in the general youth population. Behavior programs among adolescents involved in child welfare are both a cause and a consequence of placement changes, often leading to multiple placements changes and movement to higher levels of care. By addressing these problem behaviors, and de-escalating difficult situations when they do arise, youth can be maintained safely and stably in the lowest level of care needed.
- Target population: Adolescents involved with the Child Welfare system who exhibit behaviors such as general disruptive behaviors (e.g., arguing and back talk), delinquent behaviors (e.g., petty theft and vandalism), truancy, and running away from out-of-home placements (commonly called being AWOL)
- Services/types that fit: Outpatient, day treatment, and residential services in individual or group formats that may target youth directly or adults (caregivers, teachers, etc.) who work with these youth
- Delivered by: Mental health professionals or trained paraprofessionals
- In order to be included: Program must specifically address behavior management for adolescents as a goal
- In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines behavior-related outcomes, such changes in behavior, symptom levels, and/or functioning
Programs in this Topic Area
The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.
Three Programs with a Scientific Rating of 1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence:
- Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)Adolescents 11 to 18 with the following symptoms or problems: substance use or at risk, delinquent/conduct disorder, school and other behavioral ...
- Multisystemic Therapy (MST)Youth, 12 to 17 years old, with possible substance abuse issues who are at risk of out-of-home placement due to antisocial or ...
- Treatment Foster Care Oregon - Adolescents (TFCO-A)
[Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care - Adolescents]Boys and girls, 12-18 years old, with severe delinquency and/or severe emotional and behavioral disorders who were in need ...
Two Programs with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:
Three Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:
- Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI)Adults working and living with children and youth who escalate incidents into no-win power struggles, distort reality, are self-abusive, engage ...
- Teaching-Family Model (TFM)Youth who are at-risk, juvenile delinquents, in foster care, mentally retarded/developmentally disabled, or severely emotionally disturbed; families at risk ...
- WraparoundDesigned for children and youth with severe emotional, behavioral, or mental health difficulties and their families where the child/youth ...
Ten Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:
- Boys Republic Peer Accountability ModelAdolescents aged 14-18 in need of residential placement, who have fallen into trouble in the community with behavior characterized by ...
- Communities in Schools (CIS) – non-responderAdolescents, especially those at-risk, and youth-serving organizations
- Foster Youth Services (FYS)Foster youth, K-12 grades
- Handle with Care Behavior Management System®Providers and staff working with children and adolescents (age 3 years and up) across the entire spectrum of human services including ...
- Let's Talk: Runaway Prevention CurriculumYouth aged 12-18
- Mandt System®, TheThe Mandt System®Child welfare organizations and other human service programs concerned with the physical, psychological, and emotional safety of service recipients and ...
- Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Training ProgramStaff working in child welfare settings as well as other human services settings
- Physical/Psychological Management Training Restraining Training Programs (PMT) – non-responderProfessionals who work in an environment with the potential of a variety of crisis episodes with adolescents
- Safe Crisis Management (SCM)Staff members who work with individuals in care or receiving service that may experience crisis and challenging behavior
- Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI)Staff working in residential child care organizations
Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?
The Behavioral Management Programs for Adolescents in Child Welfare topic area is relevant to child welfare because behavioral problems in adolescents are a challenge that frontline child welfare workers face on a regular basis. Child welfare workers want to know effective ways to help these minors who, in some cases, are leaving placements and running away. These youth are leaving the foster care system emotionally and educationally unprepared for adulthood and can be at higher risk for homelessness, drug abuse, and becoming victims of violence. It is the hope of the Advisory Committee that the programs in this topic area will address ways to improve the adolescent’s behaviors to increase placement stability, thus reducing the number of placements and avoiding higher level placements; and ways to increase the adolescent’s coping skills to provide support and allow the youth to set and accomplish goals for the future, stay in lower levels of care, and achieve more independence.
Social Worker Practitioner
Yolo County Child Welfare Services, Woodland, CA
Curtis McMillen, PhD, Professor
School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago