Psychotherapy for depressed youth in poverty: Benchmarking outcomes in a public behavioral health setting.

Research demonstrating the effectiveness of treatment with youth from low socioeconomic backgrounds is limited. To address this limitation, we evaluated pre—post psychotherapy treatment outcomes with youth presenting with depression-related diagnoses (N = 469) at a public behavioral health agency after they implemented a systematic client feedback approach as a quality improvement strategy. Clients were ethnically diverse youth at or under the poverty line. Treatment outcome was measured with the Outcome Rating Scale (Miller, Duncan, Brown, Sparks, & Claud, 2003) and the Child Outcome Rating Scale (Duncan, Sparks, Miller, Bohanske, & Claud, 2006). Benchmark methodology was used to compare effect size estimates to those achieved in randomized clinical trials. Average treatment effect sizes for the public behavioral health depression samples of children and adolescents (d = 1.39 and d = 1.69, respectively) were clinically superior to a waitlist benchmark drawn from clinical trials of youth depression, and clinically equivalent to a treatment benchmark drawn from youth depression clinical trials. Findings demonstrate that mental health services for depressed youth in poverty across an agency can be effective, and systematic client feedback may be a useful strategy to improve treatment outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)