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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The Transition to Adulthood Among Adolescents Who Have Serious Emotional Disturbance
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This paper summarizes current knowledge on the transition to adulthood of youth with serious emotional disturbance in terms of epidemiology, effective interventions, and program models. The first section is introductory and provides definitions and characteristics of transitional youth noting special developmental tasks, outcomes for young adults, challenges to positive outcomes, and the special needs of homeless youth with serious emotional disturbance. The second section reports on ways in which the existing service systems (the child/adolescent system and the adult system) fail to meet the needs of these youth and the resulting poor outcomes. It urges establishment of a comprehensive and integrated system. Section 3 focuses on what works. It identifies transition service principles and essential service components and suggests ways to integrate systems and finance strategies. Section 4 looks at innovative approaches, including programs for transitional youth, adolescent programs, adult programs, and program evaluation and research. The final section offers specific recommendations for transition planning and for action. Five appendices provide: definitions of emotional disturbance, information on longitudinal data bases, summaries of conducive laws and policies, a listing of technical assistance/research and training centers, and a paper by Michelle Antholine: "The Transitional Community Treatment Team." (Authors)
Rockville, MD