Children's System of Care Initiative

Gwendolyn L. Harris, Commissioner

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Children's System of Care Initiative, NJ Dept. of Human Services

A major reform initiative was launched in 2000 that restructures the system for delivering services to children with emotional and behavioral disturbances and their families.

This groundbreaking Children’s System of Care Initiative is a complex plan with a simple mission: to create happier endings for New Jersey’s most troubled children. 

The Children's System of Care Initiative,  commits to an increase in spending in treatment for children with emotional and behavioral disturbanceschute de cheveux.


Children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disturbances and their families across child-serving systems.

An initiative which crosses systems based on the needs of the child & family.

The Problem:
Children and their families often don’t get services they need when and where they need them.
Services are driven by what “door” is entered -- Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), Mental Health, Criminal Justice -- rather than by what is needed.
No single entity is responsible for coordinating care.
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The fundamental elements of reform.

Increase funding
Provide a broader array services
Organize and manage services
Provide care that is based on core values
Individual Service Planning
Family/Professional Partnership
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The Issue:

The Approach:

Increase state and federal funding.

Funding increased from $51.4 million in Fiscal Year 2001 to an appropriation of $143 million in Fiscal Year 2003.  
Pool resources from DYFS, Mental Health and Medicaid and increase Federal funding. 

The Issue:

The Approach:

Expand array of formal and informal services.

Assessment (Screening, Evaluation &  Diagnostic  Services) 
Mobile Response and Stabilization Service
Out-of-Home Crisis Stabilization Services
Acute Inpatient Hospital Services
Residential Treatment Center Care
Group Home Care
Treatment Homes/Therapeutic Foster Care
Intensive Face-to-Face Care Management
Outpatient Treatment
Partial Care
Intensive In-Home Services
Behavioral Assistance
Wraparound Services
Family Support

The Issue:

Services are not managed, there is inadequate collaboration and coordination among child-serving systems.

The Approach:

Organize and manage resources more effectively.

Common screening and assessment.

Develop common screening and assessment protocols that can be used across various child-serving agencies
Uniform screening and assessments will provide a foundation for individualized service plan

Contracted System Administrator

Care Management Organizations (CMOs)

Create care management organizations (CMOs) at the local level to care manage children with intensive and complicated service needs.
Give CMOs authority and responsibility to coordinate services through a network of providers.
CMO is a separate entity whose sole business is to provide case management and create a system of home and community


Children's System of Care/Screening & Assessment

Complex Multi-System Children
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Uncomplicated Care
Service Authorized
Service Delivered

The Issue:

System is not child-centered or family friendly

The Approach:

Plan around the “whole child” and make families participants in treatment.

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Children's System of Care Initiative 

© 2000 Children's Initiative.  All rights reserved.

Comments to:
Revised: November 13, 2002


NJ Department of Human Services
Childrens System of Care Initiative