When Students Have an Emergency, the Brookline Resilient Youth Team Steps in

Preventing relapse, school failure, and out-of-home placement among high-risk adolescents

Field of Work: Vulnerable high school students

Problem Synopsis: Students re-entering school after a personal emergency such as substance abuse treatment, psychiatric hospital admissions or incarceration, can have a hard time adjusting to school.

Synopsis of the Work: Brookline (Mass.) Community Mental Health Center and Brookline High School established the Brookline Resilient Youth Team. It provides counseling and academic assistance to high school students who are re-entering school after experiencing a personal emergency.

Key Findings/Results: The Brookline Resilient Youth Team served 267 students between the 2004–2005 and 2008–2009 school years. Some 90 percent of those students remained in school and completed their education successfully. The cost of serving a student in school was substantially lower than the cost of an out-of-school placement.

The following results were reported in a profile of the project produced by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

  • The relapse rate for students with substance abuse problems who were served by the team was substantially lower than for a comparison group.
  • Students demonstrated improvement in their day-to-day functioning while receiving help from the team.

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