Family Friendliness of Community-Based Services for Children and Adolescents with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and Their Families: An Observational Study

Nirbhay N. Singh, W. John Curtis, Hollis A. Wechsler, Cynthia R. Ellis, Robert Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


In systems of care, the term family friendly is used to describe services that are aligned with the needs of the families and delivered in a manner that shows professionals value and respect family involvement, empowerment, and cultural differences. The authors devised a 42-item structured observation instrument to rate the family friendliness of one component of the systems of care in Virginia for children with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) and their families. The instrument covers typical aspects of the meeting process, such as meeting management, case presentation, and formulation of service plans. It also allows for the collection of data on relevant characteristics of the meeting participants as well as demographic information on the children and their families. This instrument was used to rate the family friendliness of Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT) meetings, the purpose of which is to develop community-based service plans for children with EBD who are referred to the team. These teams meet in local communities and typically consist of representatives from the local juvenile court, education, health, mental health, and social service agencies. The authors observed 79 case presentations at 31 FAPT meetings in 7 localities. Although there were variations within, between, and among localities, the overall rating of family friendliness across all case presentations was good (63%). Improvements in the FAPT process are needed to assure increased family friendliness in the planning of services for children with EBD and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-92
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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