The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of how to better satisfy and meet the needs of particular types of consumers of publicly funded children’s mental health services. The constructs investigated included caregiver satisfaction with services, the role of expectation in satisfaction, and demographic differences in satisfaction. The components of satisfaction assessed were: access to services, family participation in treatment, cultural sensitivity, appropriateness of services, perceived treatment outcome, and coordination of services. Participants included 1268 caregivers of children receiving publicly funded mental health services in the state of Oregon. Information was gathered and made available by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS). There were significant positive correlations between the components of satisfaction. Having an expectation regarding treatment and perceiving fulfillment of that expectation was significantly related to satisfaction with outcome. No significant differences in satisfaction were found for ethnicity and gender. Age of child was negatively correlated with satisfaction and increased restrictiveness of setting was positively correlated with amount of expectations, amount of perceived results, and satisfaction with family participation. Thus, age and setting were indicated as factors that should receive additional consideration in service provision. Results reveal the importance of realistic expectations in client satisfaction with services. Providers should inform and prepare caregivers for the services their children will receive in order to achieve satisfaction.
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