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Division of Mental Health Services

Check out the new Statewide System of Care Newsletter

The Office of Statewide System of Care Initiatives has released its first edition of the Statewide System of Care Expansion Initiatives Newsletter. This edition focuses on the statewide conference that was held in July, as well as other new and upcoming information. To view the newsletter, click here. To view the conference presentations, click here. Please contact Andrea Reed via email at if you would like more information about System of Care Expansion in Tennessee.

Announcement of Funding

Looking for Local Communities/Agencies to Expand System of Care Initiatives for Children and Families

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is seeking proposals to support local/regional System of Care (SOC) Initiatives for children and families. The primary purpose of the Statewide System of Care Expansion Initiative is to provide support for local/regional implementation of System of Care efforts to support improved home, school, and community outcomes for children and youth with mental health disorders and their families using the System of Care approach. The goal of the SOC Expansion Initiative is to support expansion of SOC implementation across Tennessee.

Click here for the complete announcement, which provides further details on agency eligibility to apply, funding available for this initiative, information to be provided in the proposal, and more. Any questions about the proposal should be sent by e-mail to by Sept. 3, 2013. Copies of all questions received by that date and their replies will be sent to everyone who requests to be added to the e-mail list by Sept. 3, 2013. All hard copies of proposals must include one original and 5 copies and must be received in TDMHSAS office - 601 Mainstream Drive, Nashville, TN 37228 - by 4 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, to be considered.

SOC-EXP Announcement of Funding and related Attachments:

Q&A about the Announcement - Questions and Answers from the September 5 Proposal Information Session

About the Office of Children and Youth (OCY)

Office of Children and Youth (OCY)

Systems of Care in Tennessee

What is a System of Care?
The system of care model is an organizational philosophy and framework that involves collaboration across agencies, families, and youths for the purpose of improving access and expanding the array of coordinated community-based, culturally and linguistically competent services and supports for children and youth with a serious emotional disturbance and their families. Systems of care engage families and youth in partnership with public and private organizations to design mental health services and supports that are effective, that build on the strengths of individuals, and that address each person's cultural and linguistic needs. A system of care helps children, youth, and families function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life.
 System of Care Core Values

  1. Family driven and youth guided, with the strengths and needs of the child and family determining the types and mix of services and supports provided.
  2. 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.
  3. Culturally and linguistically competent, 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 appropriate services and supports and to eliminate disparities in care.

Building Systems of Care in Tennessee
TDMH currently oversees the following federally-funded Systems of Care: the Early Connections Network (Robertson, Cheatham, Sumner, Montgomery and Dickson counties), the South Central System of Care (formerly Mule Town Family Network ), the JustCare Family Network (Shelby County), and the K-Town Youth Empowerment Network (Knox County). TDMH’s first federally-funded System of Care grant was the Nashville Connection (Davidson County), which was funded from 1999-2006.

OCY is committed to providing leadership for statewide efforts to expand the system of care approach throughout Tennessee.  In addition to working in partnership with community stakeholders on federally funded System of Care grants, TDMHSAS also Co-Chairs with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth the statutorily mandated Council on Children’s Mental Health. 

South Central System of Care (SCSC)
The SCSC is a System of Care expansion and sustainability initiative. Formerly known as the Mule Town Family Network, the SCSC is now operated under a Care Management Entity model by Advantage Behavioral Health and a network of local providers and overseen by a community governance board inclusive of family members, youth, and local stakeholders.  The goal of the SCSC to enhance and maintain a system of care through a coordinated effort of state, county, local child-serving agencies, youth, and family members in the South Central Region of Tennessee. Using a wraparound approach, the SCSC provides community-based, culturally and linguistically competent, family-driven and youth-guided care for children and youth with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) and their families. The SCSC serves children and youth ages 0-21 and works in partnership with the Department of Children’s Services, Centerstone of Tennessee and Tennessee Voices for Children to serve children and youth who have experienced trauma.

For more information about the South Central System of Care, please contact Shawn Brooks at

JustCare Family Network
The JCFN is a partnership between TDMHSAS and Shelby County Government and local child serving agencies, family members and youth in Shelby County.  The goal of the JCFN is to offer an effective approach to delivering mental health services and system transformation through an enhanced cultural and linguistically competent, family-driven, youth guided system of care. JCFN will serve 450 children and youth with serious emotional disturbance and their families in Memphis and Shelby County over the course of the six-year grant funded period. One of the JCFN’s goals is to reach the disproportionate number of African-American youth in the juvenile justice system with undiagnosed, untreated mental health needs. The JCFN serves children and youth ages 5-19 and is federally funded from 2008-2014.  JCFN is currently working with state and local partners to develop and implement a sustainability plan for a local system of care in Shelby County. 

For more information about JustCare, please contact Dr. Altha Stewart at or (901) 222-4500 or visit  

K-Town Youth Empowerment Network (K-Town)
The K-Town Youth Empowerment Network is a mental health initiative in Knox County, Tennessee, serving youth transitioning to adulthood with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and their families. K-Town offers an effective approach to delivering mental health services and system transformation through an enhanced culturally competent, family-driven, youth-guided, community-based and coordinated system of care. Employing local youth and caregivers as care coordinators with support from mental health consultants, and partnering with parents and youth at all levels, K-Town will serve a minimum of 400 youth ages 14-21 with serious emotional disturbance or serious mental illness and their families over the course of the grant funded period (2009-2015). K-Town is a partnership between TDMHSAS, Tennessee Voices for Children, Helen Ross McNabb Center, Centerstone Research Institute, youth, family members, and local child-serving agencies.

For more information about K-Town, please visit their website at or call (865) 523-0701, Ext. 1.

Early Connections Network (ECN)
The ECN is operated locally through a broad based public-private partnership of the Department’s Office of Children and Youth, Advantage Behavioral Health, Centerstone of Tennessee, Centerstone Research Institute, Tennessee Voices for Children, Volunteer Behavioral Health, families, caregivers, and local and regional stakeholders.  ECN is a six year, federally-funded early childhood mental health initiative in Cheatham, Robertson, Sumner, Montgomery and Dickson counties.  The ECN will serve 400 children ages 0-5 with social, emotional, and behavioral needs and their families over the course of the six year grant.  Special attention will be given to the children and families of military service members, as the five county Region includes a large population of active military, reserve and National Guard units.  ECN will begin enrolling families in services beginning in Fall 2012. 

For more information about ECN, please contact Dr. Bill Weathers at (931) 221-3800 or

For more information about Systems of Care in Tennessee, please contact:

Susan (Sukey) Steckel, LMSW
Director, Office of Children and Youth
Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Division of Mental Health Services
710 James Robertson Parkway, 11th Floor
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Direct 615.253.8377
Fax 615.253.5080



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