Method: Concept mapping, a mixed method participatory action evaluation approach was used to investigate the research questions. Participants were recruited from across geographical areas of the state and across stakeholder roles in collaboration with three geographically diverse CMHC sites and the Kansas PST Statewide Network. Participants representing key stakeholder groups included consumers, service providers, and state and agency administrators. The sample was predominantly white and female. Sixty-two participants rated the importance and observed frequency of 49 distinct statements related to the PST service on a scale of 1 (least important, least frequently demonstrated) to 5 (most important, most frequently demonstrated). Twenty-one of those participants also sorted the statements into conceptual groups. Multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS) was used to analyze the sort data and hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to group the statements into clusters that reflected similar concepts or themes (Kane & Trochim, 2007).
Results: Analyses yielded a six cluster “solution” with the following themes in order of importance: Immediate Priorities (avg. rating of importance 4.72), Initial Engagement (4.50), Effective Intervention (4.46), Understanding the Family's Needs (3.69), Qualifications/Characteristics of a PST staff member (3.58), and Original Family Centered System of Care Policy (2.55). Analyses reflected a high level of agreement across stakeholder groups on statements identified as most important and most frequently demonstrated in PST services Statewide. Additionally, this solution represents statewide stakeholder consensus on the essential components of a model of PST services.
Conclusions and Implication: This study reflects the importance of advocacy for children and their families and the provision of information and education to parents, elements identified as important in the children's mental health literature (Hoagwood et al, 2010; Munson, Hussey, Stormann, & King, 2009). Findings from this study provide information that guides discussion on program development and practice implications related to the implementation and delivery of services to parents of children with significant mental health needs. This study also offers areas of consideration for organizations seeking to recruit and train staff and volunteers for a PST program.