Youth Guided Care: What is it, why is it important, and how do we provide it?

A new WV System of Care toolkit on Youth-Guided Care has been added to our website, with tips, tools and resources for young people, families, service providers, and community leaders.  Click here to check it out!

Click here for a menu of all our West Virginia Toolkits to put Values into Action.

“Parenting Perspectives” provides family-friendly resources to understand DSM-5

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) was released in May of this year, and it signals changes for many children already diagnosed with mental health disorders, especially those with autism and mood disorders.

Often touted as the psychiatrist’s “bible,” the DSM is  published by the American Psychiatric Association and establishes the almost universal standard by which
doctors classify, diagnose and ultimately treat mental disorder.
West Virginia “Parenting Perspectives” newsletter, May 2013 issue, provides some great articles to help families of children and adolescents wtih mental  health issues understand the changes.

Click here to read more…

Do you provide the most effective care for diverse youth & families?

The purpose of culturally competent service delivery is:
  • To create a safe and welcoming environment at every point of contact
  • To ensure that all individuals receiving services experience culturally and linguistically appropriate encounters
  • To ensure individuals and families can participate effectively in their own care, and make informed decisions
  • To eliminate discrimination and disparities

The West Virginia System of Care announces latest state and national tools, links and resources to help service providers ensure effective, understandable and respectful care for diverse individuals and families – check out our Cultural & Linguistic Competence Toolkit!

Download the 2013 Mental Health Awareness Coloring Book “Out of the Shadows & Into the Light”


May 6, 2013:  In observance of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Month in May, a partnership of West Virginia behavioral health providers and family advocacy groups launched a youth art contest in April around themes of understanding mental health and fighting stigma.

The twelve winning entries have been published in an educational coloring book, “Out of the Shadows & Into the Light: Let’s End Mental Health Stigma for a Brighter West Virginia.”  Congratulations to our young artists, including those whose parents/guardians agreed to have their names published:  Michael N. Myers, Jillian Perito, Skylar Jenkins, Logan Walker, Angel Crites, Carlee Silver, Eliza Homel, Andra Taylor, Hannah Secrist and Noah Parker.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, mental health problems are surprisingly common and affect most families in America at some point. But studies also show that most people with mental illnesses get better and many recover completely.  One major barrier to recovery, according to experts, is stigma—the aura of shame and blame that surrounds mental health problems. This fear of mental health problems is a major problem in itself, but it can be overcome through public outreach and education, such as our coloring book and art contest.

Individual copies of the book can be requested free of charge from the child and adolescent departments at each of the state’s Comprehensive Behavioral Health Centers, and through Legal Aid of WV’s Family Advocacy, Support & Training (FAST) Program, Mountain State Parent Child & Adolescent Network (MSPCAN), Youth Move West Virginia, and West Virginia Family Leadership First.  The 12-page publication can also be downloaded here:  2013 MH Month Coloring Book

Our new monthly e-newsletter – “Pathways”


The West Virginia System of Care is happy to launch a monthly series of emails about what it “looks like” to transform West Virginia’s child-serving systems so families can find the help they need, close to home.  Our premier issue focuses on Family Driven Care and West Virginia’s success to date in monitoring and reducing out-of-state placement of children and youth.

To download Print-Friendly (Adobe pdf) versions, click on one of three targeted editions:

E-Newsletter Print Version – Families

E-Newsetter Print Version – Service Providers

E-Newsetter Print Version – Program-Policy Leaders

the print versions do not contain active hyperlinks; use the search box to locate content of interest.

WV “Cool Kids Tool Kit” Coloring Book (2009)—back by popular demand!

Cool Kids Cover ImageIn 2009, the West Virginia System of Care teamed up with community behavioral health providers and family organizations to launch the “Cool Kids Tool Kit” Coloring Book art contest to promote stress management for Mental Health Month.  It was a great success, and partners around the state are still using this publication for children and families in their communities.  Permission is granted for anyone to reproduce copies for family, agency or community use – 12 pages, perfect for copying onto 11×17″ paper and assembling in book form, or using individual pages as coloring sheets.

March 2013: Call for Applications for “Circle of Parents” Support Groups


March 2013: Call for Applications for “Circle of Parents” Support Groups

PREVENT CHILD ABUSE WEST VIRGINIA—Circle of Parents is a national network of parent-led self-help groups where parents and caregivers share ideas, celebrate successes and address the challenges surrounding parenting. West Virginia launched Circle of Parents in 2012 by training facilitators from six organizations to serve as pilot sites.
Based on the positive experiences from the pilot sites, additional organizations are now invited to join the Network and attend a Facilitator Training Workshop on June 4-5 in Charleston.

Download additional information and the application at this link. Applications are due May 13, 2013.

March 2013: As Affordable Care Act Expands Coverage for Children’s Mental Health Services, New Report Exposes Barriers and Opportunities


March 2013: As Affordable Care Act Expands Coverage for Children’s Mental Health Services, New Report Exposes Barriers and Opportunities

PRESS RELEASE—With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aiming to expand coverage for critical mental health services, a new study by children’s health policy experts at the George Washington University Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS) shows that meaningful improvements will also require state and local governments to address the systemic impediments that lead to significant shortfalls in care.   Read More

October 2012: Report to Legislature Studies WV Childrens’ Behavioral Health Options


October 2012:  Report to Legislature Studies WV Childrens’ Behavioral Health Options

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY—Every year, the state of West Virginia places between 40 and 60 children under the age of 11 in residential care facilities in other states. Children are primarily placed out of state as state workers, parents, or court officials deem that these placements are needed for behavioral health reasons. There are very few in-state residential services for children this young. The ultimate goal of policymakers and those involved in the welfare of these children is to best serve their needs and provide for the best future outcomes. This report considers the benefits and challenges associated with serving some or all of these children in West Virginia.  Read More..

December 2012: “Every Voice Matters” WV FAST Advisory Committee Annual Report

FAST Annual Report 12-14-12

The goal of Family Advocacy, Support & Training (FAST) is to develop a statewide parent and youth support network that will empower families of children and youth with behavioral and mental health needs to participate in planning, management, and evaluation of their child’s treatment and service needs, and to drive meaningful improvements in child-serving systems.

2012 FAST Annual Report

A Family Guide for Children with Mental Health Needs


samhsa family guide coverYou may have come to this website because you are concerned that your child needs help getting along with others, controlling his or her behavior, or expressing emotions. Depending on your child’s needs and your family’s situation, you might look for help from schools, health clinics or hospitals, health insurance providers, community mental health centers, social service programs, and, possibly, the courts.

Working with several different providers can be confusing, even overwhelming, unless they partner with you as a team to focus on your goals, strengths, and needs. In a system of care, each family defines its own strengths, the things it wants to change, and the kinds of help and support needed to reach the family’s goals.

This website can help guide you to service providing partners in “your neck of the woods” of West Virginia.  A great place to start is to click here on the Family Guide to Systems of Care to help you figure out:

  • What you need to know
  • What questions to ask
  • What you can expect; and
  • What you can do.

If you still need to locate help, or your expectations are not being met, there are partners working with the West Virginia System of Care who can help you find answers.