Development and Psychometric Testing of the Transition Service Provider Competency Scale

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The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research

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Youth in the transition years (ages 14 to 25) with mental health needs experience poor outcomes in terms of high school completion, access to post-secondary education, employment, criminal justice system involvement, homelessness, and unplanned pregnancy compared to other young people with disabling conditions.1–3 Poor outcomes have been associated with lack of access to needed services, poor quality and developmentally inappropriate programming, and underprepared service providers.2,4 While program quality is affected by many factors, well-trained service providers are believed to be essential for quality services.5 In response to concerns expressed about the quality of mental health services, there have been efforts to develop a workforce that possesses clearly defined competencies.6 Competent service providers possess specific attitudes, knowledge, and skills that “allow them to provide high-quality care that improves client outcomes”7 (p. 322). Competencies can lead to improved outcomes by guiding service provider recruitment, training, credentialing, supervision, and program design.7 Additionally, the identification of the components of specific competencies facilitates the creation of measures to assess training outcomes and ultimately the quality of performance.8

There is a continuing need for service providers to incorporate new knowledge from research and new information about emerging populations and to receive competency-based training to be able to individualize services to meet the needs of youth.2,4,9 This paper reports on the identification of a set of core competencies for service providers working with youth with mental health needs in the transition years and the development and psychometric testing of the Transition Service Provider Competency Scale (TSPCS), a 15-item self-report instrument.10


© National Council for Behavioral Health 2018



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