Interorganizational relationships among family support organizations and child mental health agencies

Mary C. Acri, Larry Palinkas, Kimberly E. Hoagwood, Sa Shen, Diana Schoonover, Jennifer Rolls Reutz, John Landsverk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined: (1) qualitative aspects of close working relationships between family support organizations and child mental health agencies, including effective and ineffective characteristics of the relationship and aspects that they would change, and (2) the impact of the working relationship upon the family support organization. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 40 directors of family support organizations characterized as having a close working relationship with a child mental health agency. Three main themes emerged regarding the quality of the working relationship: (a) interactional factors, including shared trust, communication, collaboration and service coordination; (b) aspects of the inner context of the family support organization, mental health agency, or both, including alignment of goals and values and perceptions of mental health services; and (c) outer contextual factors external to the organizations, such as financial and county regulations. Responses to the perceived impact of the relationship was divided into two themes: positive impacts (e.g. gained respect, influence and visibility), and negative impacts (e.g. lack of trust). This study lays the foundation for future research to better understand the mechanisms underlying interorganizational relationships in communities among different types of providers to create a more seamless continuum of services for families of children with mental health conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-454
Number of pages8
JournalAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Family support
  • Family support organizations
  • Peer-to-peer support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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