Ten guiding principles were also established to lend consistent expectations across all systems of care. Because of the inherent flexibility of systems of care to meet the unique and evolving needs of their communities, the guiding principles help provide ongoing structure for systems of care design, programming, and implementation.
It is important to keep in mind
that system of care is not a “new program,” but rather a coordinated network of
services across different agencies within a community. It is a philosophy that
encourages and drives system change and at the same time can be flexible and
creative to meet children, youth, and their families’ needs at the local level.
Ten Guiding Principles
Children with emotional disturbances should have access to a comprehensive array of services that address their physical, social, and educational needs.
Children with emotional disturbances should receive individualized services in accordance with the unique needs and potentials of each child and guided by an individualized service plan.
Children with emotional disturbances should receive services within the least restrictive, most normative environment that is clinically appropriate.
The families and surrogate families of children with emotional disturbances should be full participants in all aspects of the planning and delivery of services.
Children with emotional disturbances should receive services that are integrated, with linkages between child-serving agencies and programs and mechanisms for planning, developing, and coordinating services.
Children with emotional disturbances should be provided with case management or similar mechanisms to ensure that multiple services are delivered in a coordinated and therapeutic manner and that they can move through the system of services in accordance with their changing needs.
Early identification and intervention for children with emotional disturbances should be promoted by the system of care in order to enhance the likelihood of positive outcomes.
Children with emotional disturbances should be ensured smooth transitions to the adult service system as they reach maturity.
The rights of children with emotional disturbances should be protected, and effective advocacy efforts for children and adolescents with emotional disturbances should be promoted.
Children with emotional disturbances should receive services without regard to race, religion, national origin, sex, physical disability, or other characteristics, and services should be sensitive and responsive to cultural differences and special needs.