Systems of Care

Systems of care has been used as a catalyst for changing the way child and family service agencies organize, fund, purchase, and provide services for children, youth, and families with multiple needs. This approach has been applied across the United States in various ways at the macro level (through public policy and system change) and at the micro level (in the way service providers directly interact with children and families in need of assistance). Systems of care is demonstrated through multiagency sharing of resources and responsibilities and full participation of professionals, families and youth, and community stakeholders as active partners in planning, funding, implementing, and evaluating services and system outcomes.

Systems of care enables cross-agency coordination of services for child welfare-involved children, youth, and families regardless of where or how they enter the system. Agencies work strategically, in partnership with families and other formal and informal supports, to address children’s unique needs. To do so effectively, systems of care communities:

  • Agree on common goals, values, and principles to guide their work
  • Develop a shared infrastructure to coordinate efforts toward the common goals of safety, permanency, and well-being
  • Within that infrastructure, work to ensure the availability of a high quality array of evidence-based and promising practices and supports designed to support families and protect children from maltreatment, while promoting their well-being and stability in a permanent home.

It is important to note that systems of care is not a “program” or “model.” Instead, it serves as a framework for guiding processes and activities designed to meet the needs of children and families. States and communities must have the flexibility to implement this service delivery approach in a way that evolves over time as needs and conditions change.

Nebraska Planning System of Care

The Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services System of Care (SOC) Planning Project is bringing together Nebraska youth and families, child-serving systems and providers and Nebraska leaders to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for prevention- oriented, culturally and linguistically appropriate, and family-driven, youth-guided SOC for children/youth with Serious Emotional Disturbances and their families. Led by the Division of Behavioral Health the process mechanism includes Management, Development and Strategy teams each contributing specific roles and products towards the final plan.  Stakeholders from across the state will be able to contribute their expertise through regional meetings, forums and a statewide assessment survey.

Grant Guided by Management Team

Grant leadership and support is being drawn from among staff in multiple DHHS Divisions including  Behavioral  Health,  Children  and Family Services, Public Health, Medicaid and Long-Term Care and Developmental Disabilities.  Also playing key roles on the team are youth leaders, the Nebraska Federation of

Families as well as the Office of Probation Administration. Consultants and partners including the TriWest Group, UNL Public Policy Center and Nebraska Children and Families Foundation round out the team.

Engage, Educate and Contribute! Stakeholder Survey, Interviews, Forums to Give Plan Relevance

Stakeholder engagement in the SOC planning process is encouraged and welcomed through participation in a self-assessment of readiness for expanding systems of care in Nebraska.  Planned for early fall 2013 and under the direction of the SOC Development Team, the assessment process will be a collaborative effort between stakeholders,  the  Regional Behavioral Health Authorities, DHHS  Service Areas and project consultants from the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center and TriWest Group.  The assessment will include a statewide web-based survey, targeted key informant interviews, family discussion forums and surveys, youth discussion forums and existing system data.

Core Strategy Teams Forming Soon

Strategy Teams for System of Care development will be convened in the following core strategy “content” areas: ŸPolicy, Adminis- trative & Regulatory ŸTrauma Informed Services & Supports Ÿ Financing Strategies Ÿ Workforce Develop- ment ŸSupport Generation ŸSocial Marketing, Communication and  CLAS and  ŸHigh-Fidelity  Wraparound. The work of the teams will serve as the framework for system change with finished products from each team contributing to the state’s final strategic plan.

State Wants to Hear from Youth, Families and Providers 
on Behavioral Health Needs

Nebraska officials want to know what services are important to Nebraska children and teens when they face serious behavioral health challenges, so they’re asking the youth, their families and community providers to complete a survey.  The survey period is open until November 22.

The results of the survey will help the Department of Health and Human Services and system partners, such as advocacy groups, children’s agencies, schools, the justice system and the faith community, work with families and youth to develop a strategic plan for a system-of-care approach to providing services for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families.

“We want to strengthen the collaboration of state and local efforts to weave mental health supports and services into seamless systems of care for children and youth with mental health needs and their families,” said Scot L. Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The survey includes questions about the accessibility of services, family involvement, and system strengths and weaknesses.  It is available at