Faculty Member to Implement Quality Standards Assessment for Texas Youth Residential Treatment Centers

Shamra Boel-Studt and Jonathan Huefner
Shamra Boel-Studt and Jonathan Huefner

Dr. Shamra Boel-Studt, an associate professor at the Florida State University College of Social Work (FSU CSW) and Dr. Jonathan Huefner of the Boys Town Child and Family Translational Research Center, is partnering with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and the University of Texas Health – San Antonio (UTHSA) to implement a quality assessment system in youth residential treatment programs.

“Providing high-quality services is a key issue for residential treatment providers serving youths with acute emotional and behavioral disturbances,” Dr. Boel-Studt explained. Residential treatment programs for youths are live-in behavioral health facilities that offer a wide variety of therapeutic services related to mental and behavioral health and substance use, among other issues. Services and outcomes from such treatment programs may vary widely, so quality assessments are essential to improved outcomes for the youths served.

Since 2014, Dr. Shamra Boel-Studt has served as the principal investigator of a statewide collaboration between the Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Institute for Child Welfare housed at FSU CSW, focusing on Florida residential care providers, researchers and youth who were previously served in residential care. The collaboration aimed to establish evidence-based quality practice standards for residential care. A critical component of this project was developing and validating a measurement instrument, the Quality Standards Assessment (QSA), and evaluating residential homes' implementation of the standards.

The QSA was designed to facilitate the integration of research-centered, evidence-based standards into residential care settings and to support the process of continuous quality improvement. The assessment tool was successfully piloted across the state of Florida in 2018-2019 and is now in the third year of statewide implementation.

Dr. Boel-Studt and her collaborators have expanded the use of the Quality Standards Assessments in this latest Texas project, intending to implement the assessment in 14 youth residential treatment centers across Texas. The project aims to adapt the QSA and pilot the assessment later in 2021, evaluating the implementation process and the assessment’s impact on services. The team will also provide QSA training and ongoing technical assistance to residential treatment center staff. The research team will include FSU College of Social Work doctoral students Taylor Dowdy-Hazlett, Savarra Tadeo and Christopher Collins.

The goal is to understand the impact of the QSA on program quality, youth outcomes and the return-on-investment in Texas residential treatment centers. “Quality criteria that will define and shape youth residential care services are coming,” Dr. Boel-Studt asserted. “The Quality Standards Assessment approach provides an opportunity for providers, consumers and key stakeholders to have a voice in the process, to empower collaboration and to facilitate a common language and goals for residential care.”

Contact Dr. Shamra Boel-Studt about the project at sboelstudt@fsu.du.

Monday, September 20, 2021 - 10:58 AM
Last updated: Thu, 03/23/2023 - 09:41 AM