A system of care is a wide range of mental health and related services and supports organized to work together to provide care. It is designed to help a child or adolescent with serious emotional disturbances, with the involvement of his or her family, get the services they need in or near their home and community.
In systems of care, local public and private organizations work in teams to create a single plan of care and implement a tailored set of services for each individual child's physical, emotional, social, educational, and family needs. Teams include family advocates and may consist of representatives from mental health, health, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, vocational counseling, recreation, substance abuse, or other organizations.
Teams find and build upon the strengths of a child and his or her family, rather than focusing solely on their problems. Teams work with individual families- including the children - and with other caregivers as partners when developing a plan for the child and when making decisions affecting his or her care.
A serious emotional disturbance touches every part of a child's life. Therefore, children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances and their families need many kinds of services from a variety of sources, such as schools, community mental health centers, and social service organizations.
Unfortunately, many State and community organizations do not work together to coordinate the services that children with serious emotional disturbances and their families need. For example, while children might be attending special education classes at school, they may not have access to after-school or recreation programs. Families might not receive the support they need to care for their children. To get needed services, some families have to give up custody or agree to place their children in a hospital or residential treatment center. Today, with a much better understanding of serious emotional disturbances, many mental health providers know that children and their families can receive effective, accessible treatment and support through community-based "systems of care."
Studies suggest that effective systems of care:
When implemented in a community, a system of care has two components:
1. A collaborative organized network (infrastructure)
The collaborative organized network for Boone County System of Care (B-SOC) includes representation from Division of Children Services, BehaviorCorp, Cummins Behavioral Health, Inc., Boone-Clinton-North West Hendricks Joint Services, Boone County Probation I, Boone County Federation of Families, Boone County Guardian Ad Litem, and parent representatives with children with serious emotional disturbances.
2. Service delivery (strength-based wraparound through child and family teams)
A child and family team consist of four to eight people who know the family best. Some examples are parent, client, extended family, neighbors...the Service Coordinator's role includes facilitating the child and family team meetings and help family to identify informal supports and resources. They meet with the family at least one time per week and communicate with team members when needed to obtain updates and ensure that the treatment plan is being followed. The service coordinator is seen as the single point of communication for the team. They assist with maintaining the treatment and crisis plans. It is the service coordinators responsibility to ensure that all team members are up to date with the progress of the family.
For more information on the Boone County System of Care, contact by email or at 765-483-3090 ext. 112.
This site courtesy of Boone County Community Network.