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Book Reviews   |    
Transition to Adulthood: A Resource for Assisting Young People With Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties
Reviewed by Craig Anne Heflinger, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2001; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.52.8.1113
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edited by Hewitt B. Clark, Ph.D., and Maryann Davis, Ph.D.; Baltimore, Paul H. Brookes Publishing, 2000, 293 pages, $29.95 softcover

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Transition to Adulthood provides specific information about the population of adolescents with emotional or behavioral problems and the special challenges they face as they approach adulthood and the adult service system. It also describes recommended practices for helping them weather these transitions. This book is one in the Systems of Care for Children's Mental Health series edited by Beth A. Stroul and Robert M. Friedman that addresses current practices and system-level issues in child and adolescent mental health service delivery. Dr. Clark and Dr. Davis bring to this text their expertise in service delivery design, practice, and research.

Transition to Adulthood is an edited volume that is organized into five sections. Section 1 provides descriptive background information: Who are these youths, and what do we know about them and their needs? How does the system typically operate, and how does its operation affect this population? This first section introduces a framework for the development and operation of a recommended transition system that would address a range of transition needs of this group of youths, including employment, education, living situation, and community-life adjustment.

The second section contains six chapters that describe treatment, support, and other intervention strategies that have been field-tested and refined to assist this population in achieving success across all domains of transition. Section 3 focuses on the perspectives of these youths and their family members and the importance of actively engaging family members and other community supporters in service planning and support. The critical role of parents as advocates for their children is discussed, and recommendations are offered for supporting parents in this role.

Section 4 discusses system, policy, and financing issues that must be addressed if service delivery to this population is to be improved. The final section summarizes and highlights the issues covered in the previous sections and outlines agendas for service and system reform and research that are needed in this area.

Transition to Adulthood is designed for and contains valuable information for a range of audiences, including psychiatrists and other mental health service providers; educators, juvenile justice personnel, and others who interact with these youths; administrators who run or plan services for this population; parents; and advocates.

Parents can use the information in this book to understand the broad scope of developmental issues that must be addressed by and for their children and to develop and pursue the supports and services they need in the community. Advocates will use the descriptions of affected youths and needed services to promote attention to this population in their communities. Service providers in a multitude of settings and disciplines will benefit from better knowledge of the comprehensive needs of this population and specific program ideas for addressing these needs. Administrators of community agencies, behavioral health managed care companies, and state agencies should benefit from the system-level view that provides them with both a conceptual framework and specific details for planning and implementing relevant services. I recommend this book for all these audiences.

Dr. Heflinger is associate professor of human and organizational development at Peabody College and a fellow at the Vanderbilt Institute of Public Policy Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.




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