June 2020 Volume 1, Issue 1

We Are for Children, Youth, and Families

A Message from our Co-Chairs

We are in the midst of unprecedented times in North Carolina and our country. A global public health crisis and rising tensions around social justice issues point us even more clearly to the increased need to collaborate to help the children, youth and families in our communities throughout the state. We’ve found new ways these past months to join together by moving to Zoom meetings for our twice a month Collaborative meetings and increasing our social media presence. This newsletter (our first!) is yet another way to keep State and Local Collaborative members more connected. 
Thank you to all are helping us stay socially connected while staying healthy and physical distancing. Our founders' panel was one of the highlights for our Children’s Mental Health Awareness activities during May. We were inspired to learn more how those who have been involved in the State Collaborative since its inception have worked hard to arouse and maintain the values inscribed by those who started the State Collaborative. These core values include cross-system collaboration, System of Care principles, and the essential need for family and youth voice at the table. We believe all children, youth and families in North Carolina deserve the best services our healthcare, educational and justice systems can provide. 

Another highlight of our work together, we hosted a youth panel at a State Collaborative meeting; we heard the strength, courage and clarity of youth voices at our table, especially during these challenging times. You can learn more about our founders' and youth panels below, along our upcoming Transition Age Youth Expos and Regional Advocacy Institute Webinars. 

Our voices are strong and in joining together, we will be even stronger as we advocate, serve, educate, and instill hope in others during these changing times. We understand, these are pivotal moments in our state and country; the State Collaborative must be part of the conversation about ways to move forward offering a safe forum for individuals, children, youth and families.

Ashley, Bass-Mitchell, Agency Co-Chair & Chandrika Brown, Family Co-Chair
NC Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families

Children's Mental Health Awareness 2020
More than a decade ago, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration   ( SAMHSA) and the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (FFCMH) created National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and Week. The awareness Day and Week were created to draw awareness to importance of caring for every child’s mental health. Children's Mental Health Awareness Week is always to first full week of May, and the Awareness Day falls within that week.

At the State Collaborative, we have long understood how vital a child's mental health is to their development. Our infographic pictured here follows the theme for this year's Children's Mental Health Awareness Week from the FFCMH: "Bringing Children's Mental Health into Focus 20/20." Key messages for the month for the State Collaborative focused on resilience. Protective factors for building resilience include having a sense of belonging and purpose, and a safe adult to go to for help. We also know that effective mental health services strengthen family resilience.
This year, we joined together virtually at the State Collaborative to celebrate Children's Mental Health Awareness Day/Week/Month.

Along with our heightened social media presence throughout the month on children/youth/family mental health, our awareness efforts focused on: a NC Governor’s Proclamation, Zoom transition age youth "Youth" panel discussing the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, and "Founding” members of the State Collaborative Zoom panel.

Governor's Proclamations
Every year, we submit a for a Governor’s Proclamation that helps bring awareness to children’s mental health in North Carolina. This year, Proclamations were disseminated for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day/Week and Month 2020 by Governor Roy Cooper.

Founders' Panel
By Patricia (Pat) Solomon, The first Family Co-Chair
NC Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families

On May 22, 2020 the State Collaborative hosted a panel of eleven members who started the State Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families ("the Collaborative") almost 20 years ago. The panel came together for a two- hour, virtual “Zoom” session, and shared collective views on how the Collaborative was formed back in 2001 after a series of System of Care grants were given to North Carolina in the 1990's. North Carolina was one of the few states awarded more than one round of grants. At that time, legislation was concurrently enacted that required our child serving agencies to work together to better serve our families and children that were at risk for out of home placement.

The environment was conducive and we were fortunate to have experienced people, with the right hearts, in positions at the right time, that were willing to meet before their regular work hours to discuss how to help children, youth and their families in a System of Care framework. 

There were many cross-system representatives involved during the early years of the Collaborative. For example: Children’s Mental Health, DD and SAS; Department of Public Health, Department of Social Services; Administrative Office of the Courts; Department of Juvenile Justice; NC Families United and Duke University and The Governor’s Crime Commission. More family organizations, universities, providers and other organizations became a part of the group as our outreach expanded. 

The founders had a great deal of respect for one another because they felt everyone was there for the right reason, which was to improve the lives of children, youth, and families. All topics were on the table and discussed in an open conversation where every voice was heard. The Collaborative was strength based. It was inclusive and never exclusive. An open door policy was the goal and anyone that wanted to participate and follow the guidelines was welcomed.

Goals for the group centered on the needs of the children, youth, and families. The strengths and resources of the children, youth, families, communities and agencies were used to address the needs that were identified. This is where the diversity of the Collaborative was able to piece, or weave, a “System That Cared” to form a “Person Centered Plan” for the Child and Family. Innovative ways of funding were developed to meet the needs identified. System issues were recognized at state and local levels and funding was able to be identified and coordinated to address those needs. 

The Collaborative worked to break down not only barriers between cross-agencies, but also within their own agency. The Collaborative cultivated families as partners in solving child and family issues. The Collaborative included the ideas of the youth voice. The group understood that when the youth owned their plan, it improved the chance of them obtaining their goals - after all it is about them.

Even after all these years, the admiration and respect remains very obvious between the panel of the founders. The panel ended their discussion saying how delighted and encouraged they were in seeing their work carried on by the current State Collaborative. The founders are very proud of the advocacy that continues for children, youth, and families in NC.

It takes dedicated, strong, good hearted people willing to fight the good fight to make the needed changes for the future of our children, youth and families. 

Transition Age Youth
 Studies have shown that transition aged youth (ages 14-25) endure a variety of challenges as they transition into adulthood. In addition to these challenges, there is a deficiency of practical resources available to assist them in honing independent living skills and decision making. Often, members of this demographic find themselves struggling with or developing mental and behavioral health conditions. These conditions cause interpersonal and social emotional challenges making them more likely to experience educational complications, employment displacement and trouble with law enforcement. All while being perceived as adults who should have these aspects of life under control without full brain development
Youth and young adults, especially those with Serious Mental Illness or Serious Emotional Disturbance may experience the following challenges:
  • School Dropout/Truancy
  • Unemployment
  • Homelessness
  • Juvenile or Criminal Justice System involvement 
  • Hospitalization
  • Substance Use Issues

Transition-Age Youth Expositions
The State Collaborative’s Transition-Age Youth subcommittee --in partnership with Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) and the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS)--will be hosting a series of transition-age youth-related trainings in each LME/MCO catchment area across North Carolina. 

These trainings, geared to serve 50-100 youth for each training, have the goal of providing young adults between the ages of 14-24 with skill sets and resources to assist them as they successfully transition into adulthood. Each 1-day training will consist of a minimum of 4 sessions (content of which will be determined by the LME/MCOs). A flyer with dates for the July and August Youth Expos will be available soon.

Youth Panel
A key value of system of care, is having youth voices at the table. During our State Collaborative meeting in early May, a virtual panel of four youth provided insight on “Life during COVID 19.” They provided suggestions and helpful hints to support youth during the current public health pandemic.

The youth spoke of what’s working, what’s not, and what would be helpful, including: Parents should not think just because they are not in school that they are having a great time; they would much rather be in school with their friends; one teen suggested parents should not take the “training wheels” away too quickly; youth may not be ready to live on their own yet.

Legislative Updates
The NC Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families Policy & Research Workgroup  is a group of cross-system organizations and agency representatives whose mission it is “to influence and support legislative provisions that provide clear values and mechanisms for children, youth, and family involvement in policies, service structures and cross-system structures.” Members of this workgroup receive weekly legislative updates from i2i Center for Integrative Health related to identified issues that impact children, families and youth.

To locate additional information on the Policy & Research workgroup or to download the Weekly Legislative update, visit / .
Also, the Policy & Research workgroup—along with Prevent Child Abuse NC, NC Child and i2i—will be hosting four virtual Regional Advocacy Institute Webinars later this year. Each webinar will consist of a Legislative Panel tailored specific to that region, an Advocacy 101 training, Keynote speaker, and networking opportunities. The dates for the Webinars will be September 14th and 28th and October 6th and 26th . Be on the look out for our SAVE THE DATE flyer in the next few weeks with more information.
For additional information or questions contact Joanne Scaturro at  or
 919.601.7835 or Stacy Justiss at  or 276.274.7068.
At the State Collaborative, we provide a forum for collaboration, advocacy and action through a System of Care framework . We hope to include a "System of Care in Action " article in each newsletter from organizations around the state. Thank you to the Partner's System of Care Expansion grant team for providing this first article.
System of Care in Action :

Partners' System of Care Expansion Grant Update
by Shikeena Pope, Social Marketing Communications Task Lead

In 2017, Partners Behavioral Health Management was awarded a four-year System of Care Expansion Grant (SOC) from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for individuals birth to 21 with serious emotional disturbances (SED), intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), and substance use disorders (SUD). The purpose of the grant is to unite community resources and health care providers to improve behavioral health outcomes for youth and young adults by:

  • Addressing health barriers for youth and young adults by focusing on behavioral and physical health needs, natural supports and social determinants of health (SDOH). 
  • Connecting youth and families with youth and family support partners, as well as other resources and services like High Fidelity Wraparound (HFW), Buffering Toxic Stress and The Positive Parenting Program.

Some of the accomplishments within the past three years include: 

  • The implementation of High Fidelity Wraparound. CTS Health, Support Inc. and Youth Villages are behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disability service providers that were trained and are currently providing High Fidelity Wraparound in the grant’s focus area of Burke, Gaston, Iredell and Lincoln counties. Sixty-eight families are currently receiving High Fidelity Wraparound services.
  • Embedding licensed clinicians and/or Family Partners into three pediatric/family medicine practices to assist members and families with behavioral health concerns and SDOH factors.
  • Involvement with community collaboratives to obtain and share resources and work in partnership with child and family service agencies.
  • Developed strong partnerships with Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, NC Families United, Technical Assistance Network (TA Network), UNC Greensboro and faith-based communities to remove service barriers, strengthen workforce development and share resources.
  • Providing and promoting trainings and resources to health care providers, faith-based communities and child and family agencies to increase awareness of interventions and strategies that are beneficial to families, such as Buffering Toxic Stress, High Fidelity Wraparound, Positive Parenting Program, Crisis Intervention Training, Mental Health First Aid (adult and youth) and QPR suicide prevention. 

The grant has seen positive outcomes by giving families a voice and choices concerning treatment while helping them accomplish goals. Most youth involved in HFW avoided out of home placements and were able to remain with their families. Overall, the System of Care Expansion Grant continues to build and strengthen communities by serving families, improving access to services, addressing health barriers and advocating for families and youth to have an active role in their treatment.

For more information about the grant, please visit:
What is the State Collaborative
for Children, Youth and Families?

Our Mission
The North Carolina Collaborative for Children, Youth, and Families ("State Collaborative"), through a System of Care framework, provides a forum for collaboration, advocacy and action among families, public and private child, family serving agencies and community partners to improve outcomes for all children, youth and families.
Our Vision
Children, youth, and families are healthy, safe and successful at home, in school and in their communities.

The State Collaborative:
  • Provides a forum for the discussion of issues regarding how agencies, youth, and families can work together to produce better outcomes for children, youth and families.
  • Develops recommendations regarding the coordination of services, funding, training and local reporting requirements to eliminate duplication and make the system more consumer friendly.
  • Includes representatives of a range of state and local agencies, youth, families, and advocates.
  • Provides support for local Collaboratives and Child and Family Teams.

Interested in becoming a State Collaborative member?  Please contact us.
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