Our state’s vision is for children and their families to be connected to the care they need, when they need it so that they can reach their full potential.
To achieve this vision, Connecticut is building a connected system of services and supports that contribute to children’s behavioral health and well-being. A connected system will act like solid railway tracks so families don’t get lost and can get to where they need to go.
A Coordinated Network of Care
In 2014, Connecticut developed the Behavioral Health Plan for Children, which outlines a blueprint for implementing a comprehensive and integrated system of care for behavioral health services to effectively prevent, identify, and treat behavioral health needs for all children in our state. The plan set goals and strategies for our state and an implementation advisory board was created to guide plan implementation.
The work to expand this system into an integrated “network of care” is being carried out in partnership with Connecticut’s Connecting to Care initiative with the goal of meeting the behavioral health needs of all children in our state. Since 2014, Connecticut received several concurrent federal grants funding the Connecting to Care initiative.
A Network of Care is an integrated, coordinated system of services and supports to help children thrive at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life. Connecticut is working to build a Network of Care that integrates child-serving systems, including: behavioral health, child welfare, early childhood, juvenile justice, education, and primary care so that families can access the care they need no matter what “door” or system they enter.
Networks of Care, as grounded in Systems of Care values and principles, must be:
- Family-driven and youth-guided, with the strengths and needs of the child and family determining the type and mix of services and supports provided
- Community-based, with the locus of services, as well as system management, resting within a supportive, adaptive, infrastructure of structures, processes, and relationships at the community level
- Culturally and linguistically appropriate, with agencies, programs, and services that reflect the cultural, racial, ethnic, and linguistic differences of the populations they serve to facilitate access to and utilization of services and supports
Connecticut’s behavioral health integrated network of care relies on the collaboration of families, youth, providers, state agencies, and many community partners to ensure all children achieve positive well-being. Below is a list of many of the partners we work with to improve children’s behavioral health.
- FAVOR, Inc.
- AFCAMP (African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities)
- NAMI Connecticut (National Alliance on Mental Illness, Connecticut Chapter)
Connecticut has a robust network of child-serving partners and providers. In addition to a large network of providers that directly support implementation, other partners include:
The guiding legislation for implementing the Behavioral Health Plan, Public Act 15-27, identified many state agencies as partners for a cross-agency approach to addressing children’s behavioral health in Connecticut. These partners include:
- Department of Children and Families
- Office of the Healthcare Advocate
- Office of the Child Advocate
- State Department of Education
- Office of Early Childhood
- Department of Social Services
- Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity, and Opportunity
- Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
- Department of Social Services
- Department of Public Health
- Insurance Department
- Court Supportive Services Division of the Judicial Branch
State agency partners work collaboratively with several committees charged with improving children’s behavioral health, including:
- Children’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council (CBHAC)
- Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board
- Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council (BHPOC)
- Committee on Child and Adolescent Quality, Access and Policy
- Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee (JJPOC)
- Social Emotional Learning Collaborative
- Child Well-Being Task Force
- Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board
The Connecting to Care initiative is operated by Connecting to Care’s grant-funded partners and overseen by the Connecting to Care Steering Team made up of a variety of family members and key stakeholders to provide oversight and support across implementation activities.
The grant-funded partners include:
- Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF)
- Carelon Behavioral Health
- The Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI)
- FAVOR, Inc.
- The Consultation Center at Yale University
Connecting to Care currently operates five workgroups addressing health equity, workforce development, family care connections, social marketing communications, and trauma-informed school mental health.
Implementation of Connecticut’s Behavioral Health Plan for Children is overseen by an advisory board appointed by the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families.
Members of the Children’s Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board represent families, providers, and others with expertise on various aspects of the children’s mental health system.
There are three Behavioral Health Plan workgroups addressing alternative payment and measurement-based care, data integration, and urgent care and crisis stabilization.
The Connecticut General Assembly mandates the development of a “system of care” in Connecticut and articulates the guiding principles (Public Act 97-272); these become the genesis of the 26 local System of Care groups in operation covering all 169 towns in the state. These System of Care groups are also referred to as Community Collaboratives.1997
The Departments of Children and Families (DCF) and Social Services (DSS) submit a report to the Connecticut General Assembly about the implementation of Connecticut Community KidCare, to support a reform of the public child behavioral health system, including the implementation of “wraparound” support services, expanded community-based services, efficient balance of local control through Community Collaboratives with statewide administrative structure, and data and evaluation components.
Building off of the work of KidCare, WrapCT was funded in 2006 to help communities provide comprehensive mental health care to children and families through the Wraparound evidence-based service delivery model. The Wraparound model has been sustained statewide through care coordination services and local system of care community collaboratives.2006
Shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, the General Assembly passed Public Act 13-178 (An Act Concerning the Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health of Youths), directing DCF to produce a comprehensive children’s behavioral health plan for the state of Connecticut.2013
The federal Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awards Connecticut a one-year planning grant for statewide system of care development.2013
The Children’s Behavioral Health Plan, with input from families, community members, and providers, is submitted to the Connecticut General Assembly by the Department of Children and Families on October 1.2014
Connecticut receives a four-year implementation award from SAMHSA to implement a statewide network of care and provide targeted intensive care coordination for youth in or at-risk for congregate care placements, known as the Connecting to Care initiative.
Connecting to Care launches technical assistance and training to local organizations to provide support in developing Health Equity Plans that promote health equity and engage youth and families using the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards.
Network Analysis: More than 300 adults and 150 youth participated in community conversations about the strengths of Connecticut’s service system for children and families, major areas of concern, and how to improve the system of care.
Connecting to Care publishes “Advancing Health Equity and Racial Justice in Children’s Behavioral Health” to support the development of organizational Health Equity Plans and implementation of the CLAS Standards.2019
SAMHSA awards Connecticut a four-year sustainability grant to expand and sustain the implementation of a coordinated network of care at the statewide, regional, and local levels, particularly among the pediatric primary care, behavioral health, and education systems.2019