The Social Construction of Reality in the Realm of Children's Mental Health Services

Thomas W. Pavkov, Kristy L. Soloski, Richard Deliberty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Across the United States, systems of care have emerged to provide mental health care to children and their families; fragmentation inhibiting the success of collaboration by stakeholders is common and compromises these systems of care. Survey data were collected from 1,428 respondents in a Midwestern state to examine problems that exist within systems of care from the perspective of the different stakeholder groups. Stakeholder group membership was based upon the respondent's employment or involvement within various child-serving systems and included those in child welfare, juvenile justice, and education, mental health providers, and consumers (i.e., caregivers/parents). Group differences revealed patterns of "finger pointing" by the stakeholder groups on where specific problems exist within systems of care. The findings provide insight into how the social construction of service delivery and practice emerges as stakeholder groups describe, understand, and evaluate problems within the system of care as a function of their own practice location within the system of care. Future research should consider exploring methods that might minimize the competitive nature of disparate child-serving systems and its potentially negative impact upon system performance and treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-687
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Systems of care
  • barriers
  • children
  • mental health care
  • problems
  • social construction
  • stakeholder groups


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