Transforming Children's Mental Health Policy into Practice: Lessons from Virginia and Other States' Experiences Creating and Sustaining Comprehensive Systems of Care

Transforming Children's Mental Health Policy into Practice: Lessons from Virginia and Other States' Experiences Creating and Sustaining Comprehensive Systems of Care


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This book examines the long term impact of service reform in children's mental health, focusing on comprehensive state and local initiatives to improve care for children with serious behavioral health and their families to illustrate how programmatic and contextual forces influence policy and practice in this area, and inform readers about strategies employed by policy makers, administrators and advocates to develop and sustain effective systems of care. This book looks at Virginia's effort to reform care for at-risk youth, as well as the transformational initiatives of six states and several localities. Using a comprehensive ecological framework, the authors focus on a statewide transformation of services for children/youth with serious emotional and behavioral challenges to enhance understanding of the course and consequences of system change efforts over an extended period of time. Attention is given to the impact of this reform on individual children and families, and local communities as well as the Commonwealth.

Using data from states' and localities' efforts to develop comprehensive systems of care for children and families, this book enhances understanding of the dynamics of large-scale human service reform efforts. It describes how political, economic, social, cultural, and technological forces have shaped policy and practice, offer lessons learned from these ambitious reform initiatives, and provide guidance for those interested in improving care for vulnerable children and their families.

This book examines the long-term impact of reform legislation, employing a multi-modal approach to enrich understanding of this ambitious reform effort. Examples are provided to illustrate how CSA and other systems of care have impacted individual children and families as well as the interplay of local community dynamics and macro level policy and political processes. This book also offers the first-hand perspectives of individual consumers and families, child advocates, community based program providers, and local and state wide administrators and policymakers. By combining these multiple perspectives the authors provide a comprehensive perspective on the issues of child mental health services and related reform efforts.

Editorial Reviews

Barbara J. Burns

These authors offer a well documented history of child mental health services over decades in the State of Virginia. It provides a tangled history of the interaction between politics and mental health leadership. Their clearly articulated insights will be of value to historians and to public health policy leaders.

Robert Friedman

As one of the co-authors of the original monograph that presented the vision for systems of care, I am delighted to see this comprehensive, thorough, and thoughtful presentation of the work done over a 20-year period in Virginia. As Bob Cohen and Allison Ventura point out, achieving system reform is a complex and challenging task and sustaining reforms beyond their initial stage is not only difficult but often overlooked. This book is very rare in that it looks at a reform over a 20 year period, and presents scholarly information as well as information from a variety of key informants. The information is primarily about the Virginia system of care reform, but also examines efforts in other states as well as local communities. The book should be of value both within the system of care world and the world of system change and reform more broadly, and the authors are to be congratulated for their enormous contribution.

Alexandria W. Lewis

Whether you are a child serving professional, advocate, policy maker or family member, this work is a “must read” reference and guide. It honors the family and children’s voices struggling to secure the care that they need and explains how difficult transformation of practice and policy truly is. As a colleague of the authors, and administrator in children’s mental health system of care initiatives, I was impressed with the comprehensive approach to the detailed chronicling of the development of the Children’s Service system in Virginia. Their comparison with other States’ experiences with system of care from a political, developmental, structural and personal perspective illustrates creative approaches and identifies best practice strategies.

In the end, all systems come down to the one child that we all want to see succeed and have a safe and happy life. Drs. Cohen and Ventura expertly paint the canvas on what that life looks like and gives us a glimpse of the next portrait of children’s community mental health.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498541145
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 12/30/2016
Pages: 380
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

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