Examining the research base for child mental health services and policy.
This article reviews the existing research base for child mental health services and policy. It emphasizes the importance of research that looks at the overall community-based system of care as the unit of analysis, and stresses the need to maintain a systems perspective, even when research is focused on components of the overall system. The review concludes that there is a need for a considerable increase in child mental health services research but also indicates that there has been a recent increase in research that has the potential of building a base to change policy. In particular, a need is identified for well-controlled studies that assess both clinical and cost outcomes and for studies that examine the mega issues of the organization and financing of systems of care.
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