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Predictors of Service Utilization of Young Children and Families Enrolled in a Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Program


Sameera S. Nayak, Thomas Carpenito, Lynn Zamechek, Kate
Roper, Larisa Méndez‑Peñate, Malika Arty, Christy Moulin, Daphney Mirand, Beth
E. Molnar


Understanding early childhood mental health service utilization in community-based clinical settings is important. Project Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health (Project LAUNCH) provided mental health-related services for young children and families within pediatric medical homes. Using data from the Project LAUNCH evaluation (n = 106), we implemented negative binomial regression models to determine if baseline variables were associated with service utilization, defined as the number of encounters between the family and the team. Past-year homelessness emerged as a significant predictor of service utilization. Encounters for families with children who experienced homelessness within the last 12 months occurred at a rate 34.5% lower than those who had not experienced homelessness. Results highlight the importance of addressing homelessness as a barrier to mental health service utilization for families. Screening for recent housing insecurity and developing interventions that integrate housing support services into mental health programs may inform strategies to increase attendance for families with young children.

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