System of Care

The Lorain City Schools System of Care

The Lorain City Schools System of Care provides a comprehensive spectrum of effective services and supports for children, youth, and young adults with or at risk for mental health or other challenges and their families that is organized into a coordinated network of care, builds meaningful partnerships with families and youth, and is culturally and linguistically responsive in order to help them to thrive at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life. A system of care incorporates mental health promotion, prevention, early identification, and early intervention in addition to treatment to address the needs of all children, youth, and young adults. (Stroul et al., 2010)

The Lorain City Schools System of Care is:

Family and Youth Driven

Family and youth driven, with families and young people supported in determining the types of treatment and supports provided (with increasing youth/young adult self-determination based on age and development), and their involvement in decision-making roles in system-level policies, procedures, and priorities.  

Community Based

Community based, with services and supports provided in home, school, primary care, and community settings to the greatest possible extent, and with responsibility for system management and accountability resting within a supportive, adaptive infrastructure of structures, processes, and relationships at the community or regional level.  

Culturally and Linguistically Competent

Culturally and linguistically responsive, with agencies, services, and supports adapted to the cultural, racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the young people and families they serve to provide care that meets individual needs, including those shaped by culture and language, and to ensure equity in access, quality, and effectiveness of services.

Guiding Principals and Philosophy

The following principals and philosophy guide our System of Care:

Comprehensive Array of Services and Supports

Ensure availability and access to a broad, flexible array of effective, high-quality treatment, services, and supports for young people and their families that address their emotional, social, educational, physical health, and mental health needs, including natural and informal supports.  

Individualized, Strengths-Based Services and Supports

Provide individualized services and supports tailored to the unique strengths, preferences, and needs of each young person and family that are guided by a strengths-based planning process and an individualized service plan developed in partnership with young people and their families.

Evidence-Based Practices and Practice- Based Evidence

Ensure that services and supports include evidence-informed, emerging evidence-supported, and promising practices to ensure the effectiveness of services and improve outcomes for young people and their families, as well as interventions supported by practice-based evidence provided by diverse communities, professionals, families, and young people.


Provide services that are trauma-informed, including evidence- supported trauma-specific treatments, and implement system- wide policies and practices that address trauma.

Least Restrictive Natural Environment

Deliver services and supports within the least restrictive, most natural environments that are appropriate to the needs of young people and their families, including homes, schools, primary care, outpatient, and other community settings. 


Partnerships with Families and Youth

Ensure that family and youth leaders and family- and youth-run organizations are full partners at the system level in policy, governance, system design and implementation, evaluation, and quality assurance in their communities, states, tribes, territories, and nation.  

Interagency Collaboration

Ensure that services are coordinated at the system level, with linkages among youth-serving systems and agencies across administrative and funding boundaries (e.g., education, child welfare, juvenile justice, substance use, primary care) and with mechanisms for collaboration, system-level management, and addressing cross-system barriers to coordinated care. 

Care Coordination

Provide care coordination at the service delivery level that is tailored to the intensity of need of young people and their families to ensure that multiple services and supports are delivered in a coordinated and therapeutic manner and that they can move throughout the system of services and supports in accordance with their changing needs and preferences.

Health-Mental Health Integration

Incorporate mechanisms to integrate services provided by primary health care and mental health service providers to increase the ability of primary care practitioners and behavioral health providers to better respond to both mental health and physical health problems.

Developmentally Appropriate Services and Supports

Provide developmentally appropriate services and supports, including services that promote optimal social-emotional outcomes for young children and their families and services and supports for youth and young adults to facilitate their transition to adulthood and to adult service systems as needed.

Public Health Approach 

Incorporate a public health approach including mental health promotion, prevention, early identification, and early intervention in addition to treatment in order to improve long-term outcomes, including mechanisms in schools and other settings to identify problems as early as possible and implement mental health promotion and prevention activities directed at all children, youth, and young adults and their families.

Mental Health Equity

Provide equitable services and supports that are accessible to young people and families irrespective of race, religion, national origin, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical disability, socioeconomic status, geography, language, immigration status, or other characteristics; eliminate disparities in access and quality of services; and ensure that services are sensitive and responsive to all individuals.

Data Driven and Accountability

Incorporate mechanisms to ensure that systems and services are data-driven, with continuous accountability and quality improvement mechanisms to track, monitor, and manage the achievement of goals; fidelity to SOC values and principles; the utilization and quality of clinical services and supports; equity and disparities in service delivery; and outcomes and costs at the child and family and system levels.  

Rights Protection and Advocacy

Protect the rights of young people and families through policies and procedures and promote effective advocacy efforts in concert with advocacy and peer-led organizations.

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