LME/MCOs Launch Initiative to Ensure Seamless, Statewide Care for Foster Children

North Carolina, May 23, 2022 – North Carolina’s six Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) have launched the NC Child and Family Improvement Initiative to collaboratively improve care for children, youth and families served by the child welfare system. Building on a 50-year legacy of established local partnerships and the strengths of North Carolina’s public managed care system for mental health, substance use disorder, intellectual/developmental disability (IDD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), the LME/MCOs have joined together to implement a statewide model to ensure seamless access to quality care for these children and families regardless of where they live in North Carolina. 

LME/MCOs have long worked together with their counties to effectively serve children in the foster care system. For those children with very complex behavioral health needs, often inclusive of IDD needs, there are regularly challenges in securing needed treatment. Severe provider capacity issues and workforce shortages across the state have exacerbated these challenges. Following recent decisions by 20 counties that were formerly assigned to Cardinal Innovations to realign with other LME/MCOs, there is ground-breaking work taking place that is improving care for youth with complex needs. North Carolina’s LME/MCOs have intensified their efforts to address the challenges facing children, families and county Department of Social Services (DSS) offices while leveraging North Carolina’s existing infrastructure in order to be good stewards of public funds, and to bring rapid change to this critical population.

As part of the NC Child and Family Improvement Initiative, the LME/MCOs have assembled North Carolina child welfare subject matter experts and thought leaders to create a statewide solution to the current pressing challenges of the service delivery system. Responding to the most significant issues raised by members of the General Assembly, county Departments of Social Services, the Provider Community and families, the Initiative will create ease of movement for children who relocate throughout the state to continue to receive services without delay or interruption and will alleviate any administrative burden on providers who are involved in those inter-county movements.

As the NC Child and Family Improvement Initiative workgroups continue their efforts in the coming days and beyond, specific elements and dates for delivery will be shared. The immediate improvements resulting from this partnership will be fully functional before the 2024* launch of the North Carolina Behavioral Health and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Tailored Plans.


North Carolina’s six Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) are responsible for managing Medicaid, state and local funding for North Carolinians who are uninsured or who receive Medicaid and seek services for Mental Health (MH), Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (IDD), Substance Use Disorders (SUD) or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

The LME/MCOs are the cornerstone of North Carolina’s public Managed Behavioral Health/IDD/TBI system designed to improve quality and timely access to care for individuals and families. Established by the General Assembly in 2011, the LME/MCOs are built on a 50-year legacy of county area programs with deep local, community roots. The LME/MCOs ensure access to quality provider networks, strong community collaboration to support robust System of Care, and budget predictability through the efficient and effective use of public funds and resources.

North Carolina’s LME/MCOs include:

Alliance Health


Partners Health Management

Sandhills Center

Trillium Health Resources

Vaya Health

Media Contact for Vaya Health

Allison Inman, Director of Brand Strategy and Communications
Telephone: 828-225-2785, ext. 5364

Related News

N.C. Child and Family Improvement Initiative Already Proving Successful

N.C. Child and Family Improvement Initiative Formalize a Statewide Network for Child Treatment Providers

N.C. Child and Family Improvement Initiative: LME/MCOs Make Substantial Investments to Increase Rates for Child Residential Services Across North Carolina

NC Child and Family Improvement Initiative Focuses on Standardization of Collaboration with County Departments of Social Services

*This post has been updated with the new Tailored Plan launch date announced by NCDHHS.

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