System of Care is a way of working with children and families, not a specific service or program. It is often called SOC.
System of Care recognizes that families know their own strengths and needs best. Families are the center of the process and identify their own goals. Health care providers, child-serving agencies and schools help families stay on track. Family friends, neighbors and community connections provide families with physical and emotional support to help them achieve and maintain success.
North Carolina Families United has a helpful handbook on System of Care for families.
What Are System of Care values?
- Child and family partnership: Each family decides what services and supports will best meet their needs and the needs of their children.
- Interagency collaboration: Complex needs may require the inclusion of multiple agencies or “players” to meet children’s and families’ needs and goals. Service agencies and providers must work and communicate well together, always including the youth and family.
- Accountability to results: Progress toward goals is continually measured and evaluated. Successful services may be enhanced, and unsuccessful approaches will be re-evaluated.
- Individualized, strengths-based approach: All families have strengths. All families have areas in which they need support. Care plans are developed to meet families where they are, using their unique strengths and providing support where they feel they need it.
- Cultural competence: It is important to work with families in a manner that respects their cultural background and belief system. Communication is made, when possible, in a family’s native or preferred language.
- Home- and community-based services and supports: Children thrive when they can remain in their own home, school and community. Having professionals and natural supports close to home helps families stay together and connected.