Mental health an essential part of the development of children and their overall health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 6 youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. Mental health has a huge impact on whether a child succeeds in school and ultimately in society. This public health issue is aggravated by the lack of sufficient resources or strategies to address children's mental health in many communities. Sadly, there is often a delay of as long as 11 years between when a child's symptoms begin and when they start treatment.
In 2018, the Kane County Health Department was one of five communities across Illinois to receive a $2.3 million grant from the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation. This seven year project was designed to implement a children's mental health System of Care in Kane County to improve mental health outcomes for children and families.
The Kane County System of Care (KCSOC)
The KCOSC is a coordinated network of community providers and parents led by the Kane County Health Department. The KCSOC includes representatives from multiple sectors including: juvenile justice, early childhood, substance use services, community mental health, federally qualified health centers, parent and community supports, domestic violence and sexual assault services, K-12 education, mobile crisis response (i.e. SASS), and parents who have children engaged in the mental health system. This network of professionals and parents participated in the planning and is currently involved in the implementation of our System of Care at the community level.
The goal of the KCSOC is to enhance systems to improve mental health outcomes for children and families. The System of Care approach combines a broad array of individualized services that are community based, family driven, youth guided, culturally and linguistically competent and data informed. The objectives of the KCSOC include:
- Engage community based professionals and families to collaboratively create a child and family centered system of care.
- Leverage existing networks of community based service providers to deliver evidence based, culturally & linguistically competent services.
- Ensure the capacity to prevent, identify, and support children at risk for, or with, existing mental illness.
- Comprehensive plans to educate and engage all who play active roles in the lives of children, with a particular emphasis on mental health, healthy development, and stigma.
- Develop a system to collect and share local mental health information and engage our community in data informed decision-making.
- Create infrastructure to support county-wide, high-fidelity wraparound.
Kane County System of Care Initiatives
The KCSOC is building a system that identifies children who are at risk for developing a mental health disorder earlier; provides a stronger voice for youth and families in planning, oversight, and quality improvement; increases access to community based services and parent/youth peer supports; improves access to culturally specific services that are provided in the family's primary language; and increases the use of evidence based practices in our community.
Current Initiatives of The Kane County System of Care Include:
- Parent Cafes
- Kane County Parent Council
- Youth Voices Forum on Mental Health
- High-Fidelity Wraparound
- Flexible Funds
- Workgroup for Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity (“WIDE")
- Integrated Intake & Referral System (“IRIS")
- Community Mental Health Training Events