OLR Research Report

January 20, 2012




By: Susan Price, Senior Attorney

You asked if Oklahoma's “systems of care” model for children with mental illnesses could be replicated in Connecticut. 

Like Oklahoma, Connecticut adopted the ”systems of care” model for children with severe mental illnesses and their families more than a decade ago. In both cases, lack of funding is a major factor that has hampered implementation statewide.

A “system of care” is an interdisciplinary framework intended to address all of a child's identified needs. Its goal is to improve access to and expand the array of coordinated community-based, culturally and linguistically competent services and supports for children and families. These include diagnostic and evaluation services, school-based services, outpatient and day treatment, around-the clock emergency services, case management, intensive home-based services, therapeutic foster care, and services that will help youth transition to adult mental health services.

Research from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and others points to statistically significant short- and long-term benefits for children treated under a systems of care model. Noteworthy examples include improved clinical and functional outcomes, significant reductions in suicide attempts, improvement in school attendance and performance, reduction in contacts with law enforcement, and reduced reliance on inpatient settings for care. It also shows that these children's caregivers reported experiencing less strain and missed fewer days of work. For more information, see:


and http://www.samhsa.gov/children/docs/shortReport.pdf