Name: Systems of Care
Target Population: Children, youth and families involved in the child welfare system.
Geographical Area: Jefferson County, Colorado
Summary: Jefferson County, Colorado, will develop a system of care in child welfare. Using the concept originally designed for mental health, Jefferson County will emphasize the role of the individual, family, and community in designing approaches to meet the multifaceted needs of children and families. The Jefferson County Systems of Care approach will be capable of responding to child welfare outcomes, developing community capacity to meet the needs of children and families, and increasing cultural competency in the system and the community. The vision of the project is: Keeping Our Children Safe Through Healthy Families and Strong Communities. The mission is to promote the welfare of children and families through the development of sustainable partnerships that provide integrated, quality services that are individualized, strengths-based, family-centered, and culturally sensitive. The project has five goals:
- Strengthen the child welfare infrastructure for interagency and community collaboration
- Institutionalize individualized, strength-based care practice
- Enhance the cultural competency of Jefferson County agencies and providers
- Assure family involvement in all aspects of the system
- Institutionalize effective accountability mechanisms
The approach used by Jefferson County will be grounded in best practices; a thorough assessment of strengths, liabilities, and opportunities in both the system and the community; and cultural profiles of the county's cultural and ethnic minority groups. Developed through an interagency planning process, the systems of care approach will continue the county's history of interagency planning processes and provide resources to implement a true collaborative project. In partnership with the University of Denver, the approach will be evaluated at four levels: individual, community, system, and policy, and will target key areas highlighted in the State and county Program Improvement Plans.
A variety of traditional and innovative practices will be combined to meet the goals of the initiative, including case flow management changes; cross-system training; cultural research on the communities in Jefferson County; participatory evaluation models; geo-mapping to assess the resources and resource accessibility of the community; and comprehensive and representative client, staff, family, and community participation. As partnerships extend beyond child welfare to other agencies and the community, the initiative will maintain the flexibility needed to adopt varied approaches, possibilities, and ideas to design and implement Systems of Care for Jefferson County.
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