The term “System of Care” is defined as “a spectrum of effective, community-based services and supports for children and youth with or at risk for mental health or other challenges and their families, that is organized into a coordinated network, builds meaningful partnerships with families and youth, and addresses their cultural and linguistic needs, in order to help them to function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life.” In other words, a system of care is all of the groups, people and systems working with a child coming together with the child and family to reach the goals that are important to that child and family.
A system of care approach is mandated in Mississippi state law. In local communities, Making A Plan (MAP) teams are designated to partner with families to help children with significant mental health challenges, including those children who also have developmental disabilities or substance use issues, to be able to stay in their homes and communities. MAP Teams are made up of the different child-serving systems (mental health, health, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, early childhood), families, other groups serving families and interested people from the community.
By law, MAP Teams are supposed to serve as the single point of entry into services for those children they are designated to serve. The first priority of MAP teams is to bring together resources and supports when a child is at risk of being placed outside the home (for example, in a psychiatric hospital, a residential treatment facility or a detention center). MAP teams also support families and children when children are returning to the community from an out-of-home placement.
If your child is at risk for coming out of the home or if they are returning from an out-of-home placement, we encourage you to contact your local MAP team for support. Information about MAP teams can be found beginning on page 9 of the Division of Children and Youth Services Directory from the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.
To learn more about Map Teams, please join us at 10 AM on Friday, April 23 for our webinar What is a System of Care and How Do MAP Teams Help Families?. This webinar explains from a family perspective what local “Making a Plan” (MAP) teams are and how they are designed to help children with serious mental health challenges stay in their homes and communities. This session is part of a five-part series and focuses on MAP Teams as the single point of entry and support for children with the most challenging needs.
There are MAP teams throughout the state. Families as Allies facilitates the MAP team in Hinds county. You can learn more about the Hinds county MAP team in this brochure.