Jacksonville System of Care Initiative

In 2010, the city of Jacksonville was awarded a five year, nine million dollar Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Cooperative Agreement to improve children’s mental health services through the Jacksonville System of Care (SOCI) Initiative in Duval County. Subsequently, the University of Florida, College of Medicine – Jacksonville Center for Health Equity and Quality Research (CHEQR) was awarded a sub-contract through the City of Jacksonville and Managed Access to Child Health (MATCH, Inc.) to evaluate the Initiative. CHEQR is also the lead partner in research for the initiative, and the center collaborates with several community partners that include: the Partnership for Child Health, Jacksonville Children’s Commission, Mental Health America, Children’s Medical Services, Duval County Public Schools, United Way, the Department of Juvenile Justice, Foster Care and homeless agencies, and the Early Learning Coalition.

To effectively create transformational improvements in Duval County’s mental health services, a number of System of Care committees have been established. CHEQR staff are actively involved with the following committees: Evaluation Logic Model, Information Technology, Cultural and Linguistic Competency, Foster Care, Homeless, Juvenile Justice, and the Governance Board.

Family and Youth

As a reflection of the core values that the System of Care is family driven and youth guided, family and youth recipients of mental health services are an integral part of the initiative. They are actively involved in each of the committees and work closely with CHEQR and the other community partners. Their roles in both the committees and the overall initiative include:

  • serving as the primary source for driving the logic model goals and outcomes
  • serving as a community voice in the communications with care provider agencies and organizations
  • providing input and recommendations to the initiatives of each committee

Evaluation Overview

Evaluation is required by the SAMHSA Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Families Initiative (CMHS) through the prescribed National Evaluation and National Outcome Measures. The Evaluation Committee (EC) for Duval County’s System of Care was initiated in January 2011 by CHEQR, the Unviersity of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville department of psychiatry, and the department of child and family studies at the University of South Florida. As the year progressed, the project director, family and youth care coordinators/advocates became members of the committee. At present, 13 evaluation committee members engage in weekly conference calls and planning workshops in an effort to facilitate, prepare and present materials, provide summary updates, maintain records and regularly participate in stakeholder and committee meetings. The evaluation committee has provided leadership in the community assessment, logic model, and strategic planning processes for the overall initiative.

IT Overview

The ultimate plan for the information technology (IT) committee is to establish a universal IT system that is customized and reflects the ideas of the system of care as well as community needs. The committee participates in monthly meetings that include IT management representatives from local providers, partnering agencies, system of care staff, as well as parents/youth and have determined a strategy to address the software/system needs of the initiative that is: (1) in accordance with Florida’s restrictive laws on mental health data; (2) provides the ability to interconnect by looking at an open source perspective; (3) internet- based, flexible, easy to use; (4) inclusive of an IT security team for monitoring purposes.

Some of the IT committee’s current considerations include: (1) whether we need one software system that links to other software systems with capabilities to interconnect and grab data from multiple sources, (2) the need to link to a billing component, (3) the possibility of using a common intake form/process for the SOCI.

National Evaluation

The National Evaluation will assess the number of children served; child, youth and family characteristics; child, youth and family outcomes; and system characteristics. These areas will be assessed using several methodological approaches over the 6-year period of the cooperative agreement. There are two core evaluation components: a cross sectional descriptive study, and the longitudinal child and family outcome study/service experience study. CHEQR is responsible for submitting demographic and diagnostic criteria to SAMHSA as part of the cross sectional descriptive study and longitudinal study components. This information is collected using the Enrollment Demographic Information Form (EDIF), as well as a number of instruments prescribed by SAMHSA.

For more information on the System of Care National Evaluation see:

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