Psychiatric disorders are the leading reason for hospitalization among 5-19 year olds. Current data, however, suggest there are fewer than necessary available services for children and adolescents requiring intensive, inpatient psychiatric care. Children and adolescents with behavioral health problems, the majority of whom do not receive appropriate treatment, have increased risk of school failure, family disruption, out-of-home placements, poor employment opportunities, and poverty in adulthood. This paper will examine the challenges inherent in serving children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances, avenues of financing for treatment and services, and various loci of intervention for high-risk children, including inpatient settings and systems of care. The goals of this paper are to illustrate the complexities of working with children and adolescents most in need of intensive psychiatric services, to explore how inpatient services "fit" into existing treatment approaches, and to discuss the efficacy of downsizing or closing inpatient psychiatric units for this population.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kathleen_biebel/6/