TA Coalition Webinar: Serving Youth with Co-Occurring Developmental and Behavioral Disorders

Public systems are challenged by obstacles when providing for children with co-occurring developmental and emotional and behavioral disorders.

  •   30-50% of children and adolescents with intellectual disability (ID) have co-occurring behavioral health (BH) disorders or challenging behavior (studies vary widely)
  • 40-70% with autism spectrum disorders have co-occurring psychiatric disorders (anxiety, depression and others)


Among this very diverse group of children and youth, many encounter restricted access to essential supports. Their behavioral difficulties and distress are often misunderstood and sometimes ignored. Since our public and private systems and categorical funding are not structured to address their needs, these young people are at high risk of expensive and preventable out-of-home placements in foster care, juvenile detention, psychiatric institutions and developmental disabilities centers, as well as homelessness or incarceration as adults. Many individuals face a series of disrupted placements and long-term confinement. Children and youth with developmental disabilities experience serious trauma at rates far higher than their peers, including bullying, teasing, and physical, emotional and sexual abuse, that often do not receive needed attention. As a group, they may suffer from significant medical problems as well. Stress for parents can be severe and unrelenting, especially when their children are excluded from public programs or offered services that do not match their needs. In some states families find they are unable to obtain intensive services that their children need unless they relinquish custody to state authorities. This webinar will look at how some states, in particular New Jersey, have developed ways to support broad inter-agency collaboration on behalf of this population. We will also look at the pivotal role of Families and Family Organizations in the successful outcomes in better serving this neglected population.