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Systems of Care

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A system of care is: A spectrum of effective, community-based services and supports for children and youth with or at risk for mental health or other challenges and their families, that is organized into a coordinated network, builds meaningful partnerships with families and youth, and addresses their cultural and linguistic needs, in order to help them to function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life (Source: Stroul, B., Blau, G., & Friedman, R. (2010)). Systems of Care in Virginia

DBHDS is working with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategic plan than builds on the system of care work that has already occurred in Virginia in order to implement systems of care statewide. The current focus is to expand that array and capacity of services to assure base level services for children and families statewide. 

The base level services are:

  • Crisis Response Services
  • Case Management and Intensive Care Coordination
  • Psychiatric Services
  • In-Home Services

For a complete list of Virginia's children's behavioral health comprehensive service array, please visit the Childrens Behavioral Health Comprehensive Service Array


This toolkit includes information and resources developed to support the widespread expansion of the system of care approach for children, youth, and young adults with mental health challenges and their families. It provides a strategic framework for system of care expansion and guides for strategic planning, implementing expansion strategies, financing, and performance and outcome measurement. Worksheets and tools for self-assessment and outcome measurement are included.

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