In 2008, 14 municipalities and educational institutions initiated new projects in an attempt to lower the number of children and youngsters who end up in psychiatric departments and prevent dropouts in the youth educational institutions. In 2011, the National Board of Social Services began evaluating the projects in order to document whether activities such as group sessions and therapy through conversations actually improve children's well-being and at the same time reduce the need of future psychological care. Ramboll Management Consulting and the department of Public Health and Quality Improvement in Region Midtjylland joined forces to monitor and gain knowledge from all of the 14 projects.
Share crucial knowledge
From 2004 to 2010 the number of children and youngsters referred to psychological care exploded. This intensified the need of identifying whether the initiatives helped the youngsters or not. Ramboll Management Consulting’s business manager, Daniel Schwartz Bojsen, explains:
"In general, it is difficult to document whether development projects for the youth have an effect or not. In order to demonstrate some solid conclusions, which identify the actual effect, we compared the development of the participants in our projects to a similar group of persons that did not receive any treatment."
Big impact in municipalities and educational institutions
Through renowned and research-based case studies it became evident that the work did improve the well-being for two-thirds of the participants - this is the case for both municipalities and educational institutions. The analysis also showed that participants older than 13 experienced the largest positive change.
All of the seven municipalities involved in the project can showcase a lower increase in admissions than the rest of the municipalities in Denmark. An analysis documented that in the beginning of 2011 merely 43 percent of the participants in the project group were outside the education system compared to 67 percent of the similar group not involved in any projects. These positive results mean that the majority of the 14 projects will continue.
"Our results have brought new resources for the projects, which will continue in most of the municipalities. They show a relevant effort and document the effectiveness of this work. Even soft projects can be documented with solid facts and we have proved that work according to the highest standards", Daniel Schwartz Bojsen emphasises.