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System of Care

In 1992  the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program began funding “Systems of Care“— local networks of community-based services and supports collaborating to meet the needs of children and youth with serious emotional and behavioral health challenges and their families. Public and private organizations work in partnership with families and youth who build on their individual strengths while honoring their cultural and linguistic needs to help themselves function better at home, in school, in the community and throughout life.

The following System of Care Guiding Principles support young people’s mental well-being and recovery:

Family driven means families have a primary decision-making role in the care of their children, as well as the policies and procedures governing care for all children in their community, state, tribe, territory and nation. This includes:

  • choosing supports, services and providers
  • setting goals
  • designing, implementing and evaluating programs
  • managing funding for services, treatments and supports
  • determining effectiveness of all efforts to promote overall well being of youth                       

Youth guided means youth have the right to empowerment, education, and a decision-making role regarding their own care as well as policies and procedures governing care for all youth in their community. Through development of strong youth-adult partnerships, youth are invited to participate in guiding the systems that serve them.

Culturally and linguistically competent means health care organizations

… ensure effective, understandable and respectful care that is compatible with consumers’ cultural health beliefs and practices and preferred  language.

… implement strategies to deliver, recruit, retain, and promote a diverse staff and leadership representative of the demographic characteristics of the service area.

… ensure that all levels of staff across all disciplines receive ongoing education and training in culturally and linguistically appropriate service delivery.

Maine’s System of Care also incorporates these Trauma-Informed Guiding Principles…[1]

  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness
  • Choice
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment

1 Adapted from R. Fallot, M. Harris, 10/07, The National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, Trauma-Informed Systems of Care: An Update.