Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 435–449 | Cite as

Pathways to Mental Health Services for Children and Youth in the Child Welfare System: A Focus on Social Workers’ Referral



Case abstraction was used to collect data from court reports to examine characteristics that predict referral to mental health services by court and child welfare social workers and whether referral to mental health services was a significant determinant of service utilization. Home placement and multiple types of abuse were significant predictors of a referral to mental health services by the court social worker and age and reported sexual abuse were significant in the utilization of services. Practice and policy implications are discussed.


Child welfare Social workers Foster care Mental health 



The research was supported by the Council on Social Work Education Minority Research Fellowship Program. The preparation of this article was supported by the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center supported by award P20MD002316 from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities/National Institutes of Health. The content is the sole responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The author would like to thank Dr. Alice M. Hines for feedback on an earlier draft and for consultation during data collection and Dr. Maanse Hoe for data analysis consultation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southwest Interdisciplinary Research CenterArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA

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