What is a System of Care?
A System of Care is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports organized to meet the challenges of youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Families and youth work in partnership with public and private organizations to design mental health services and supports that are effective, that build on the strengths of individuals, and that address each person’s cultural and linguistic needs.
Systems of Care, which have been established in nearly 100 communities nationwide, have a strong track record of increasing school performance while decreasing suicide attempts, juvenile justice involvement, and the need for residential treatment.
In other words, Systems of Care help youth remain at home, in school, and out of trouble.
Nearly 100 System of Care communities have been established nationwide. Tennessee has established Systems of Care in Nashville, Columbia, and Memphis. K-Town Youth Empowerment Network is the only System of Care in Tennessee that focuses specifically on the needs of transition-age youth.
National Outcomes for Systems of Care:
- School suspensions and expulsions decreased by 44%.
- Achievement of passing grades increased by 31%.
- Youth reported significantly lower levels of depression (22%).
- Youth suicide attempts were reduced by more than two-thirds.
- Youth self-reports of arrest dropped from 27% to 11%.
*Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services.
The Wraparound Process
Many of our programs utilize Wraparound, created by Dr. Karl Dennis, one of the country’s leading experts and pioneers of community-based care.
The Wraparound philosophy and practice is based on the following principles:
- Strength-based: Focus is on assets rather than deficits.
- Unconditional care: Services are changed to meet the changing needs of the child and family.
- Normalization: Plans are focused on what is normal within the family, community and culture.
- Owned by the parent: The parent is an integral part of the team and has ownership of the plan.
- Individualized: Services are created to meet the unique needs of the child and family.
- Needs-driven: Services are not based on a pre-set “menu” of what is available. Services are a combination of existing or modified services, newly created services, informal supports and community resources.
- Community-based: Services are provided in the community as much as possible.
- Culturally competent: Services are tailored to the unique values and cultural needs of the child, family and culture that the family identifies with.
- Comprehensive: Planning and services are comprehensive, addressing the needs in three or more life domain areas.
- Crisis plan: Each family develops a crisis plan with their team.
- Outcome measures: These are identified and the plan is evaluated systematically and often.