The Los Angeles Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Tools for Assessing Quality of Services

LA TAQS Project aimed to improve assessment and treatment services for clients with dual diagnoses of mental health and developmental disabilities. We developed a needs assessment to describe current services and areas of need—in other words, we described where we are now—and then created tools describing indicators of the quality of assessments and treatments for clients with dual diagnoses—in other words, where we should be going. We wanted to provide guidance on appropriate access, assessment, and treatment strategies to families, caregivers, clinicians and other health professionals who are involved in the management of dual diagnosis.


  • to identify what assessment and treatment models are being utilized for individuals with dual diagnosis
  • to develop quality assessment tools to evaluate best practices
  • to improve integrated systems of care for clients with dual diagnoses

This project began by providing an improved understanding of the current characteristics and needs of those with dual diagnosis in relation to their mental health care. We used this information and an evidence review to develop a set of evidence-based standards or indicators of what good quality of care should look like for those with dual diagnosis. We developed two quality indicator tools;

Mental Health Care for Developmental Disabilities Quality Indicator Checklist for Professionals

Mental Health Care Checklist: A Parent/Family Guide for Family Members with Developmental Disabilities

We also created a companion guidebook introducing families to dual diagnosis conditions and care.

Mental Health Guidebook for Families of People with Developmental Disabilities

We then developed, conducted and evaluated training on dual diagnosis, with an emphasis on quality of care, evidence-based practices and utilization of the tools we created to facilitate improved cross-systems communication, coordination and outcomes. These trainings were tailored for various audiences and organizations to begin to disseminate the tools we had created. It is our hope that the tools may continue in more widespread use and will serve as the basis for subsequent quality improvement projects.

Project Summary

A blueprint manual for the project (which includes all project materials) and links to the guidebook and checklist tools are provided below. We hope that these quality indicator tools will be useful for anyone interested in promoting and enhancing high quality mental health care for individuals with co-occurring developmental disabilities and mental health conditions.

LA TAQS Project Blueprint
Appendix A to D
Appendix E
Appendix F to I
Quality Indicators for Individuals with Dual Diagnosis

Training Series

CBT Treatment for Youth with ASC and Anxiety
Managing Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Primary Care: A Quality Indicator Approach
“Cookies, Tea, and Drugs”: Evidence-Based Psychopharmacological Treatments for Individuals with Dual Diagnosis

Other Quality of Care Resources

National Core Indicators (NCI) Project
NCI is a collaborative effort between the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI). The purpose of the program, which began in 1997, is to support NASDDDS member agencies to gather a standard set of performance and outcome measures that can be used to track their own performance over time, to compare results across states, and to establish national benchmarks.