Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to examine state legislation and policy related to comprehensive, integrated services for students with serious emotional disturbance. Legislation and policy documents from nine states, Virginia (the pilot study), Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin, were examined. These documents were compared to a set of components extracted from the literature as recommended practice. The document analysis was confirmed through telephone interviews with state-level policymakers in each state's department of education, department of mental health, and/or department of children's services. Support documents were also examined to establish a history for each initiative and describe the model of service delivery created by each state's legislation.;Results indicated a core set of four components common to all 9 states studied: family focused services, full array of services, individualized services and an interagency collaborative structure. Two additional components were found to be present in the legislation of many of the states studied. Community-based services was found in seven states and flexible funding was found in six states. Three components were not found in the legislation of any of the nine states studied: co-location of services, unconditional care, and wraparound services. The degree of congruence between each state's legislation and the set of components ranged from 61% for New Jersey to 30% for Vermont.



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