Systems Of Care Promote Stability, Security, Safety For Children And Youth With Serious Mental Health Needs

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Children and youth in systems of care are less likely to engage in self-harmful behaviors, demonstrate fewer emotional and behavioral problems and do better in school than before enrollment.

Within SAMHSA's Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services Program for Children and Their Families, children and youth with serious mental health needs make substantial improvements at home, at school and in the community when served through systems of care.

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A system of care for children's mental health 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 so services and supports are effective, build on the strengths of individuals and address each person's cultural and linguistic needs.

"Providing access to community-based services for children and youth with serious mental health needs is necessary for their success," said Terry Cline, Ph.D., administrator of SAMHSA. "These data show that systems of care and similar programs are key in helping children and youth across the country thrive."

The SAMHSA data also suggest that children and youth involved in systems of care experience fewer arrests. This reduction in arrests saves juvenile justice systems nationwide an average of $366.58 per child per year in costs associated with incarceration. These and other data related to key outcomes, such as improved economic status of caregivers, decreased suspensions and expulsions, and improved school attendance, can be found online at www.systemsofcare.samhsa.gov.

SAMHSA's presentation was delivered on National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, an annual event celebrated during the first full week in May, which is Children's Mental Health Awareness Week. A SAMHSA initiative, Awareness Day was established as a day on which all SAMHSA-funded children's programs and their partners across the country can demonstrate their support for children's mental health. May is also Mental Health Month.

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