System of Care Values and Principles

The system of care model is an organizational philosophy and framework that involves collaboration across agencies, families, and youth for the purpose of improving services and access and expanding the array of coordinated community-based, culturally and linguistically competent services and supports for children and youth with a serious emotional disturbance and their families. The system of care philosophy is built upon these core values and guiding principles:

The core values of the system of care philosophy specify that systems of care are:

  1. Family driven and youth guided, with the strengths and needs of the child and family determining the types and mix of services and supports provided.
  2. Community based, with the locus of services as well as system management resting within a supportive, adaptive infrastructure of structures, processes, and relationships at the community level.
  3. Culturally and linguistically competent, with agencies, programs, and services that reflect the cultural, racial, ethnic, and linguistic differences of the populations they serve to facilitate access to and utilization of appropriate services and supports and to eliminate disparities in care.

Learn more about the system of care core values.

Also, learn about the system of care guiding principles.

Featured Publications

Updating the System of Care Concept and Philosophy (PDF)

Stroul, B., Blau, G., & Friedman, R. (2010)

This issue brief outlines elements of the original 1986 system of care concept and philosophy that should be updated, offers a new version of the definition and the values and principles, describes the intended use of the updated framework and philosophy, outlines challenges for research and evaluation, and suggests areas needing greater emphasis in the future.

The National Directory of Family-Run and Youth-Guided Organizations for Children’s Behavioral Health

Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, Research and Training Center for Children's Mental Health (2008)

Lists family-run and youth-guided organizations and support groups throughout the United States, U.S. territories, and tribal nations that are working to support families who have children and adolescents with emotional/behavioral and/or mental health challenges and to improve behavioral health services and supports.

Transformation Work Group Report

SAMHSA, CMHS, CAFB, Council on Collaboration and Coordination, Transformation Work Group (2005)

Describes the compatibility of the system of care vision, values and principles, and general practices with those expressed by the President's New Freedom Commission.