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The System of Care Principles


  1. Family Driven :
    The system of care should be family driven, with the needs of the child and family dictating the types and mix of services provided. Family driven means that families have a primary decision-making role in the care of their children, as well as in 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 and implementing programs
        Monitoring outcomes
        Determining the effectiveness of all efforts to promote the mental health of children and youth.

    2. Youth Guided:
    The system of care should be youth guided. Youth guided means that youth are engaged as equal partners in creating systems change in policies and procedures at the individual, community, state, and national levels.

    3.  Cultural & Linguistic Competence:
    The system of care should be culturally and linguistically competent, with agencies, programs, and services that are responsive to the cultural, racial, and ethnic differences of the populations it serves. Cultural competence is the integration and transformation of knowledge, behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable policy makers, professionals, caregivers, communities, consumers, and families to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. Cultural competence is a developmental process that evolves over an extended period of time.

    4.  Individualized and Community Based
    Each child or adolescent served within a system of care should have an individualized care plan developed by the family team, with leadership from the child’s parents or legally responsible adult and the child or youth. The family team includes traditional service providers and also engages non-traditional and informal providers and supports. The individualized care plan refers to the procedures and activities that are appropriately scheduled and used to deliver services, treatments, and supports to the child and the child’s family.
    Needed services and informal supports should be available within the community, and be accessible and culturally and linguistically competent. Community-based services are enhanced by building partnerships with service systems and resources in the community and ensuring that management and decision-making responsibility are from community stakeholders.

    5.  Evidence Based
    Empirically supported treatments (ESTs) and evidence-based treatments (EBTs), both frequently referred to as evidence-based practices (EBPs), are important components of a service delivery system. Additionally, there are other practices that may not be empirically based that work in culturally diverse communities that must be considered and used if appropriate. These practices may be called practice-based evidence (PBE) or community defined evidence (CDE).