Text Size:
Bookmark and Share

What is a System of Care?

A system of care is a group of services and supports within your community that work together and are organized to meet the needs and challenges you face. A system of care helps you and your family figure out what you need to succeed at home, in school, in your community, and throughout your life.

Each system of care is guided by the same core values and principles—it is about you, your needs, and your family’s needs.

Regardless of where you are, you can count on your community being onboard with these three core values:

  1. Youth-guided: You, and all young people, have the right to be empowered and educated decision makers in your own care and the policies and procedures governing care within your community, State, tribe, territory, and Nation.
  2. Family-driven: The voices of you and your family take the front seat in making decisions. Family-driven also means that families work together with young people by sharing resources, authority, and control with them.
  3. Culturally and linguistically competent: The people who support and provide services through systems of care work with you and your family in ways that are respectful and respond to your cultural and language needs.

So the bottom line is that a system of care is about you. Any services you receive are about your specific needs. The core values of systems of care also ensure that services and supports are respectful of you as an individual and will be provided in a way that you can understand.

While no two systems of care are alike, they all have one thing in common: You get to play as much of a role in creating your treatment plan as you want. The best part is that instead of getting services in a strange place, far away from those you care about and those who care about you, your services are provided in your community whenever possible.


If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs to talk, please call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Return to main page of SAMHSA.gov/Children | For more information, click here to email AwarenessDay2014@vancomm.com