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…

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

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.

2013 System of Care Learning Opportunities



Thousands of individuals in the child welfare, mental health, education, juvenile justice and other “systems” have built upon their professional or parenting knowledge and skills to provide more effective community-based services built on Best Practice evidence and System of Care values.

Bookmark this page, or join our Mailing List to learn about upcoming professional development workshops to enhance practice through the West Virginia System of Care.  Many of the trainings are offered free of charge, and provide continuing education units.

Several training modules are currently under development or being updated.  Knowledge and competencies covered in WV System of Care training include the following topics (as online resources and/or live workshop schedules are completed in 2013, topics will appear below as hyperlinks):