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University of South Florida · College of Behavioral & Community Sciences · Mental Health Law & Policy


Key Personnel:
Mason G. Haber, Ph.D.
Troy Loker, M.A.
Nicole Deschenes, M.Ed.
Hewitt B. Clark, Ph.D.

Career Development for Transition-Aged Youth with Emotional Disturbances: Exemplary Practices of Florida Mental Health & Substance Abuse Agencies

Publication Date: 6/1/2008

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Relative to their peers in the general population, transition-age youth with emotional disturbances (TAY w/ED) face a challenging path to successful adulthood, particularly in the area of career development. These youth have significant difficulties progressing toward successful careers through obtaining early work experiences, completing their education and training at the secondary and postsecondary levels, and finding rewarding employment with possibilities for advancement. The implications of these career development difficulties for the longterm behavioral health of these youth are quite significant. Failing to achieve the transition to successful adult roles, particularly in the world of work, renders these youth vulnerable to a variety of poor outcomes with costly public health consequences such as continued, debilitating mental health problems, substance abuse dependence, and other serious issues (Davis & Koyanagi, 2005; Podmostko, 2007). Research has demonstrated the positive impact of certain evidence-based practices in improving career development outcomes such as supported employment (Twamley, Jeste, & Lehman, 2003). However, these strategies have not been adapted for TAY w/ED. Though an emerging literature on career development practices for TAY w/ED exists, this literature has not been systematically reviewed. In addition, efforts by publicly-funded sites in Florida to implement such programs have not been comprehensively described. The current project is designed to advance these aims to provide a basis for expanded implementation of career development programs for TAY w/ED in the state.