System of Care

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. 

System of Care Grant

There’s good news for families who need help navigating the mental health system. Vaya was recently awarded a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to expand services and access to care for children and youth with mental, behavioral or emotional disorders and offer hands-on support to their families.

The System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Grant serves residents of Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell, McDowell, Polk and Wilkes counties. Our goal is to connect 880 families to health care services over several years.

Vaya is working with Youth Villages to provide youth and family support partners – people with personal experience navigating youth mental health services – to help families meet needs that are important to them. This grant will allow us to help families:

  • Identify needs that are not being met
  • Connect with health care providers and community organizations
  • Understand resources available to help them reach their goals

This grant will:

  • Increase access to training opportunities for families and health care providers
  • Support the voices of families in community collaboratives and policymaking
  • Help provider agencies identify and address youth and family needs

Vaya Health SAMHSA System of Care Grant: Year 1, Annual Evaluation Report

Grant Governance Board

The System of Care Grant Governance Board supports the start-up, implementation and ongoing evaluation of the grant project. The board includes families, youth and representatives from county Departments of Social Services and Juvenile Justice, schools, health care providers, community organizations and local government.

Grant Governance Board members live in and represent the seven counties covered by the grant. They are available to provide information about the county they represent, offer insights and help act as the voice of the communities in developing grant goals and services.

Grant Governance Board members are:

  • John L. Blevins, MPA, Wilkes County DSS Director (Wilkes County)
  • Angela Bollo, caregiver (Polk County)
  • Paula Cline, Executive Director, Alexander County Partnership for Children (Alexander County)
  • Diane Coffey, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, High Country (Alleghany and Ashe counties)
  • Randy Fehdrau, Positive Parenting Program (Wilkes County)
  • Aaron Greene, Superintendent, Polk County Schools (Polk County)
  • Allison Inman, Executive Director, Office of Communications, Vaya Health
  • Theresa Jurgensen, Regional Supervisor, Youth Villages
  • Carlos Lopez, Centro Unido Latino-Americano (CULA) Youth Coordinator (McDowell County)
  • April Luttrell, MSW, Certified Peer Support Specialist, Youth Villages
  • Tressy McLean-Hickey, System of Care Project Director, Vaya Health
  • Lauren Oakes, MSW, LCSW, Early Childhood Therapist, Breathe Wellness Counseling (Caldwell County)
  • Rev. Rob Parsons, WithALL Congregation (Polk County)
  • Paige Stephens, Daymark Center Director (Alleghany and Ashe counties)
  • Kelby Trejo, Youth Representative (Polk County)
  • Vanessa Vargas, Lead Family Coordinator, Vaya Health
  • Dr. Gary Walby, Director, Complex Systems Innovations LLC
  • Brant Wilkins, Juvenile Court Counselor Supervisor (Wilkes)
  • Kim Wilson, DSS Program Manager (Polk County)
  • Kelly Wolf, System of Care Director, Vaya Health
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