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Evidence-based practices

DHS is committed to ensuring that children and youth receive excellent mental health care. This includes promoting evidence-based practices (EBP) to improve the quality and quantity of clinical treatment available to families and mental health providers.

Evidence-based practices are approaches to treatment that consider research to inform choices for effective courses of treatment. The research provides valuable information that can benefit children and youth with a wide range of mental health challenges. A family and provider can combine their experiences and expertise with evidence to decide what would work best for a child with concern for the child’s characteristics, circumstances and culture.

Building on work begun in Hawaii with support from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Minnesota developed an innovative model to implement evidence-based interventions to improve outcomes and transform the system of care. Efforts in Hawaii not only showed a significant decrease in the costs for serving a constant population of youth with serious emotional disturbance, but, much more important, the percentage of youth who showed significant clinical and functional improvement increased dramatically.

Minnesota’s model includes an evidence-based practices database, education for parents/families, and training and clinical consultation to mental health providers. These have established the foundation for more successful treatment strategies based on scientific research rather than upon consensus in the field about “what works.” By offering options, evidence-based practices open everyone’s eyes to other possibilities.

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