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Division of Mental Health Services

Office of Children & Youth

What is a System of Care?

A system of care is a coordinated network of 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 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. A system of care helps children, youth and families function better at home, in school, in the community and throughout life.

Systems of care is not a program — it is a philosophy of how care should be delivered.  Systems of Care is an approach to services that recognizes the importance of family, school and community, and seeks to promote the full potential of every child and youth by addressing their physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and social needs. 

Building Systems of Care in Tennessee

TDMHSAS currently has three federally-funded Systems of Care: the Mule Town Family Network (Maury County), the JustCare Family Network (Shelby County), and the K-Town Youth Empowerment Network (Knox County). TDMHSAS’s first federally-funded System of Care grant was the Nashville Connection (Davidson County), which was funded from 1999-2006.

In addition to working in partnership with community stakeholders on federal competitive System of Care grants, TDMHSAS also Co-Chairs with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth the legislated Council on Children’s Mental Health.

MULE TOWN FAMILY NETWORK (MTFN)
The MTFN is a partnership between TDMHSAS, Centerstone, Tennessee Voices for Children, and the Centerstone Research Institute. The goal of the MTFN is to develop a system of care through a coordinated effort of state, county, local child-serving agencies, individuals, youth, and family members. Using a Wraparound approach, the MTFN will provide community-based, culturally and linguistically competent, family-driven and youth-guided care for 440 children and youth with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) and their families in Maury County over the course of the grant funded period. The MTFN serves children and youth ages 0-21 and is federally funded from 2005-2011. The Maury County community is currently implementing plans to sustain the MTFN after 2011.

JUSTCARE FAMILY NETWORK (JCFN)
The JCFN is a partnership between TDMHSAS, Tennessee Voices for Children, Comprehensive Counseling Network, and Rhodes College. The goal of the JCFN is to offer an effective approach to delivering mental health services and system transformation through an enhanced culturally competent, family-driven and coordinated system of care. JCFN will serve 450 children and youth with serious emotional disturbance and their families in Memphis and Shelby County over the course of the six-year grant funded period. One of the program’s goals is to reach the disproportionate number of African-American youth in the juvenile justice system with undiagnosed, untreated mental health needs. The JCFN serves children and youth ages 5-19 and is federally funded from 2008-2014.

K-TOWN YOUTH EMPOWERMENT NETWORK (K-TOWN)
The K-Town Youth Empowerment Network is a mental health initiative in Knox County, Tennessee, serving youth transitioning to adulthood with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and their families. K-Town will offer an effective approach to delivering mental health services and system transformation through an enhanced culturally competent, family-driven, youth-guided, community-based and coordinated system of care. Employing local youth and caregivers as care coordinators with support from mental health consultants, and partnering with parents and youth at all levels, K-Town will serve a minimum of 400 youth ages 14-21 with serious emotional disturbance or serious persistent mental illness and their families over the course of the grant funded period (2009-2015). K-Town is a partnership between TDMHSAS, Tennessee Voices for Children, Helen Ross McNabb Center, and Centerstone Research Institute.

For more information about TDMHSAS’s federally-funded Systems of Care, please contact:

Susan (Sukey) Steckel, LMSW
Director of Systems of Care for Children's Mental Health
Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
425 5th Avenue, North, 5th Floor
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
615.253.8377
Susan.Steckel@tn.gov
   

For more information about Systems of Care, please visit the following links:

Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
http://gucchd.georgetown.edu/

National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health (TA Center)
http://gucchdtacenter.georgetown.edu/index.html

Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health (SAMHSA)
http://www.samhsa.gov/children/

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