Benefits of Systems of Care for Child Welfare

This document describes the common goals and shared values between systems of care and child welfare, explains why child welfare should be involved in systems of care, and lists the benefits to child welfare from participating as part of a system of care.


What is a System of Care?
A system of care is a coordinated network of public and private organizations and community based services and supports that are organized to meet the challenges of children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Families and youth are actively engaged to ensure that services and supports are effective, build on the strengths of individuals, and are culturally and linguistically competent. By working together, organizations are better able to provide care that is comprehensive and coordinated and family-centered. Successful systems of care share resources and responsibility for supporting the child and building the capacity of the family.

Systems of Care is Part of a Federal Initiative
The Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program is a federal initiative that was established by Congress in 1992 and is administered by the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch of the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. HHS. The purpose of the program is to develop integrated home and community based services and supports for children and youth with serious emotional challenges and their families through the development and expansion of systems of care. Over 120 communities, tribal communities, territories, and states have received grants. There are currently over 60 communities being funded across the United States.