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System of Care

In the State of Colorado, and across the nations, various disciplines are implementing more coordinated and integrated services and care for children and youth. In the mental health, juvenile justice, and child welfare fields this approach is referred to as a “system of care.” In the health, medical, developmental disabilities, and oral health fields this approach is referred to as a “medical home.” Both are team approaches designed to identify and better meet the multiple and changing needs of children and youth through a broad array of services and supports that are coordinated and that involve families and youth as full partners.

Central to system of care and medical home is the role of family as a partner with service providers and that family voice is valued. Both are strength-based approaches that identify the specific needs and work with other providers, including those in different disciplines, to coordinate services and care for children and youth.


Goal 2 of the Colorado State Plan for Prevention, Intervention and Treatment Programs for Children and Youth, 2010-2013, prioritizes strategies for instituting a state-level, non-categorical system of care approach that fosters more efficient use of current resoruces and more effective, integrated responses to addresssing the needs ofchildren, youth and families in Colorado.

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Colorado System of Care Values and Principles  —adopted by ten state interagency groups


System of Care Primers:
• Sheila Pires,
Building Systems of Care: A Primer, 2002

• Shiela Pires, Building Systems of Care: A Primer for Child Welfare, 2008


• Blue Ribbon Policy Council on Early Childhood Mental Health
—developing and implementing policies to support the social/emotional well-being of young children ages 0-8 and their families


Care Coordination—fostering the efficiency with which the essential qualities of care coordination services are provided and received


Colorado LINKS for Mental Health —weaving together existing efforts to create a more coordinated continuum of behavioral health services for Colorado children, youth, and families


Collaborative Management Program
—32 counties with memoranda of understanding for multi-agency collaboration and coordination to improve services and outcomes for children and youth at risk for entering, or already in, the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.


Colorado Medical Home Initiative and Medical Home Advisory Board— more than forty people representing various agencies, families, hospitals, organizations and policy-makers to advance the medical home team approach in Colorado


Colorado Medical Home Standards
—now part of state statute for serving children enrolled in Medicaid and CHP+


Colorado System of Care Collaborative
—a group of family members, family organizations, providers, and state department partners advancing the system of care approach in Colorado


Early Childhood Colorado
—linking early learning, health, mental health, family support, parent education, and early childhood professional development


 • Positive Behavior Interventions and Support
—establishing and maintaining effective school environments that
maximize academic achievement and behavioral competence of all learners in Colorado