Model Programs in Child and Family Mental Health

By Michael C. Roberts | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Characteristics Shared by Exemplary Child Clinical Interventions for Indicated Populations

Patrick H. Tolan University of Illinois at Chicago

This section of this volume describes direct service interventions for children with current emotional and behavioral pathology. All of these exemplary intervention programs share an intention of directly affecting the current and future symptomatology of indicated populations ( Gordon, 1983; Tolan & Guerra, 1994a). Direct interventions are the focus of the majority of service resources, funding, and child clinician efforts in our society, at this time ( Kazdin, 1987; Tuma, 1989). Thus, a very important question is, what characteristics are common to exemplary direct service programs? Identifying such characteristics can help us understand essential qualities for apt service delivery, and can increase the efficiency of program development.

As one reads the description of these exemplary programs and consults other pertinent literature an impressive and somewhat surprising pattern of characteristics emerges. The program design and development characteristics are remarkably consistent across the programs described in this section of the book, despite their varying approaches and different interests. These characteristics also differentiate these programs from more typical service delivery systems. It may be that these characteristics are the framework for efficacious direct intervention for children and may be necessary for effective service.1 If so, then these characteristics may be requisite considerations for design of service systems, research, and evaluation. This chapter attempts to articulate what these characteristics are, note and

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1
Efficacy is used here to refer to the demonstration of beneficial effects of program activities by prevailing scientific methods. Usually this refers to controlled quasiexperimental clinical trials. Effectiveness refers to demonstration of effect by the same scientific standards of programs as delivered in actual service delivery operations.

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