Flemish expert consensus regarding multiple and complex needs in youth care: a Delphi study
Child psychiatry and related child serving agencies are challenged by an increasing case complexity. Children and adolescents with the most complex issues come into contact with a large variety of professionals across services. However, there is no agreed-upon definition of multiple and complex needs (MCN) in children and adolescents, and information about complexity in youth care is scarce. No agreed-upon recommendations for identification and care delivery for children and adolescents with MCN are available.
The aim of this project is to formulate a consensus definition of MCN in children and adolescents, and to add to the knowledge concerning the concept of complexity in youth care. Moreover, recommendations regarding identification and treatment of MCN throughout sectors of youth care are assessed.
A modified Delphi process is used to assess expert perceptions regarding definition and conceptualization of multiple and complex needs. A panel of at least 35 persons with expertise in complex cases is recruited in several child-serving sectors. A review of the literature, in-depth interviews with youths with MCN and their parents, and focus groups with professionals were used to develop Likert statements, and open questions for the first round. An online survey tool (Qualtrics) is used to build and distribute questionnaires and collect answers.
Results and conclusion
The expected outcome of this Delphi study is an agreed-upon definition of MCN in children and adolescents. Also, our results will enrich the cross-sectoral knowledge with regard to the identification and treatment of MCN.