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Evaluation of the pilot project: "Screening of child and adolescent mental health at the intake in child welfare institutions – and coordination of healthcare and child welfare services"

The aim of the evaluation is to gain knowledge about factors that may hinder and promote effective interaction and coordination between the Child welfare services and the Children and Adolescents’ Psychiatric Polyclinic Services (BUP) when it comes to ensuring early identification of mental health difficulties and subsequent need for health care services.

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Results from the research project "Mental health in children and adolescents in child welfare institutions" by The Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare (RKBU) of Central Norway, NTNU, has indicated that fully 76 per cent are severely ill with psychiatric diagnoses. Of these, only 38 percent state that they have received some form of psychiatric help from specialist health service for these disorders during this period. This indicates that a large proportion of children and young people on child welfare institutions have unmet needs for services from both health services and child welfare services [1]. This is also a challenge internationally [2-5]. Early identification and assessment of mental health difficulties among young on child welfare institutions are necessary to give a proper follow up of difficulties and to prevent persistent difficulties [5, 8].

Evaluation of the pilot project

The purpose of the pilot project has been to develop and try out in practice mutual binding interaction forms between a range of child welfare institutions and the respective local BUP-outpatient clinics to ensure that newly entered children and young people receive the necessary health care for their mental difficulties.

In the evaluation, SINTEF will investigate what characterizes the new interaction forms and routines between child welfare and BUP, and the factors that promote and hinder effective interaction - to achieve early identification of mental health difficulties. The evaluation will focus on three main themes: 1) interaction forms and routines, 2) Documentation basis for referral to BUP, and 3) user involvement.

Data collection include qualitative methods, using focus group interviews and individual interviews of the various stakeholders that have taken part in the pilot project.


  1. Kayed, N.S., et al., Resultater fra forskningsprosjektet Psykisk helse hos barn og unge i barnevernsinstitusjoner, Regionalt kunnskapssenter for barn og unge – Psykisk helse og barnevern, NTNU 2015.
  2. Arcelus, J., T. Bellerby, and P. Vostanis, A mental-health service for young people in the care of the local authority. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1999. 4(2): p. 233-245.
  3. Heflinger, C.A., C.G. Simpkins, and T. Combs-Orme, Using the CBCL to determine the clinical status of children in state custody. Children and Youth Services Review, 2000. 22(1): p. 55-73.
  4. Kjelsberg, E. and P. Nygren, The prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems in institutionalized childcare clients. Nord J Psychiatry, 2004. 58(4): p. 319-25.
  5. Burns, B.J., et al., Mental health need and access to mental health services by youths involved with child welfare: a national survey. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 2004. 43(8): p. 960-70.
  6. Helsedirektoratet og Barne, -.u., - og familiedirektoratet, , Oppsummering og anbefalinger fra arbeidet med helsehjelp til barn i barnevernet. 2016.
  7. Lurie, J. and T. Tjelflaat, Samarbeid og samordning mellom barnevern og barne- og ungdomspsykiatri I Norge. Kunnskap om forskning, offentlige føringer, avtaler og nyere tiltak. 2009: NTNU Samfunnsforskning. Barnevernets utviklingssenter i Midt-Norge.
  8. Mount, J., A. Lister, and I. Bennun, Identifying the mental health needs of looked after young people. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2004. 9(3): p. 363-382.

Key Factors

Project duration

2017 - 2017



The project  is financed by