The various modalities complement each other and are also integrated within the broader system of health and welfare services in the youth sector. While some clients may prefer or need to receive services within one or two modalities, the results that can be achieved for clients will be greatly enhanced when several modalities operate together sequentially and / or concurrently. While it is true that there is some overlap in the range of intervention types provided across some modalities, they are also fulfil quite different functions.

Both outreach and the primary health aspects of Day Programs provide are more focused on case finding and early engagement. Acute Residential (Youth Residential Withdrawal Programs) provide a structured circuit breaker to the cycle of crisis that is often the result of problematic AOD use. Long Term Residential modalities are designed to support more intensive behaviour change interventions and other treatments that are crucial for recovery and transition. Specialist Programs are designed to support delivery of interventions targeting needs that may be relatively unique to particular groups of young people (e.g. young parents or Aboriginal youth), but many of these individuals will also benefit from interventions provided via ‘mainstream’ modalities.

An integrated service system requires organisational support structures focused on the technical requirements of ensuring accessible and effective youth-specific services. Key organisational support structures include:

  • Intake systems, screening and assessment procedures
  • Mechanisms for ensuring referral pathways, liaison, and coordinated care planning across the modalities of the youth AOD system and across complementary sectors (i.e. child protection, youth justice, mental health, family support);
  • Mechanisms for ensuring a consistent therapeutic framework, quality assurance, accountability for outcomes, and professional development across the modalities of the youth AOD service sector

Making appropriate choices about therapeutic interventions begins with assessment involving comprehensive data collection about a client and his or her social ecology, combined with case formulation involving theoretically informed analysis of those data and collaborative problem definition and goal setting. Care planning involving close collaboration with the client builds on assessment and case formulation to design a strategy for problem solving or change. A systematic approach to recording case notes enables the practitioner to critically reflect upon progress, review the strategy, and ensure that the care process is transparent and accountable. Regular supervision and case review are necessary to realise accountability, monitor quality, ensure that practitioners are adequately supported, detect and address emerging risks, and provide ongoing professional development.