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Division of Mental Health Services

Office of Children & Youth

Core Values and Guiding Principles of a System of Care

The system of care is distinguished from other initiatives by a set of core values and guiding principles that are as follows (Stroul & Friedman, 1986):

  • Child centered and family focused, with the needs of the child and family dictating the types and mix of services provided
  • Community based, with the locus of services as well as management and decision making responsibility resting at the community level
  • Culturally and linguistically competent, with agencies, programs, and services that are responsive to the cultural, racial, ethnic, and language differences of the populations they serve

The guiding principles of a System of Care include:

  • Children having access to a comprehensive array of services that address the child’s physical, emotional, social, educational and cultural needs
  • Children receiving individualized services in accordance with their unique needs and potential which is guided by an individualized service plan
  • Children receiving services within the least restrictive, most normative environment that is clinically appropriate
  • Children receiving services that are integrated, with linkages between child serving agencies and programs and mechanisms for planning, developing, and coordinating services
  • Children being provided with case management or similar mechanisms to ensure that multiple services are delivered in a coordinated, therapeutic manner, and adapted in accordance with the changing needs of the child and family
  • Children receiving services without regard to race, religion, national origin, gender, physical disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics

System of Care Links