Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Historically, children served in the foster care system experience less favorable mental health outcomes compared to those in the general population (Anctil, McCubbin, & Pecora, 2006; Burns et al., 2004; Garland et al., 2001; Zima, Bussing, Yang, & Berlin, 2000). As a result, the child welfare system has been described as a "de facto public behavioral health care system" (Lyons & Rogers, 2004), prompting state child welfare agencies to seek to put systems and policies in place to serve the needs of these youth, such as Illinios' statewide community-based program, System of Care (SOC), designed to provide multi-modal services to at-risk youth in substitute care.

Previous research on SOC outcomes has shown modest clinical improvements in youth over time (Sieracki et al., 2008); however, this research did not compare outcomes across youth or explore the possibility of moderators influencing outcomes. The current study aims to use a multivariate classification tree analysis (Optimal Data Analysis; ODA; Yarnold & Soltysik, 2005) to explore the outcomes of youth who enter treatment with significant symptom severity on items of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS; Lyons, 1999). The current study will take a different approach to the data by studying outcomes at the item level of the CANS, allowing for the comparison of subgroups of youth and the exploration of the ways individual CANS items interact to predict the outcomes of specific presenting problems. By using a range of variables in the exploratory analysis, this study will allow for unique interactions to emerge while maximizing classification accuracy.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.