More At-Risk Children Served through Innovative Approach to Keep Families Together

Mar 08, 2013, 10:47 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania System of Care Partnership will add five additional counties to the program, serving 125 more children with severe emotional disabilities in the efforts to keep them with their families and avoid out-of-home placements.

The new counties joining the program in 2013 are Crawford, Greene, Northampton, Northumberland and Venango counties. Counties continuing to participate are York, Chester, Montgomery, Lehigh, Erie and Philadelphia counties.

"Research shows that a more inclusive method helps families who are raising a child with mental illness to remain together," Department of Public Welfare Acting Secretary Beverly Mackereth said. "Through the partnership, they learn how to access services in their local communities to help the child succeed in school, avoid crime, reduce suicide attempts and stay out of the institutional system."

System of Care targets and selects youth with complex behavioral health issues who have been involved in the juvenile justice system and child welfare system. A team of juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health and school professionals work with each child and his or her family to build a plan for success in school, the community, and at home.

"This approach is proven to help the child's family, which can face extreme stress because of the demands of raising a child with mental illness," Mackereth said. "Studies have shown this approach reduces family stresses and even results in fewer missed days of work for loved ones caring for the child."

The System of Care Partnership is funded through a $9 million, six-year federal grant that is being rolled out to 15 counties, with the goal of eventually serving 1,000 Pennsylvania youth. Pennsylvania was one of 19 states chosen to receive the federal System of Care Expansion Planning Grant in 2011, and the grant has served more than 300 children to date.

For more information, visit the department's website at or call 1-800-692-7462.

Media contact: Carey Miller or Donna Kirker Morgan, 717-425-7606.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare