Illinois United For Youth

The Illinois United for Youth System of Care Implementation Initiative (IUY) is planning to expand the System of Care (SOC) paradigm throughout the entire state to serve children and youth with serious emotional disturbances (SED) who are at highest need. This will be achieved through implementation of Illinois' Statewide System of Care Strategic Plan. IUY will serve youth with SED up to age 21 who experience complex challenges and needs that place them at the highest risk of residential placement. These children require intensive, flexible community-based services to remain safely at home with their families. Often they have co-occurring behavioral, developmental, learning, and/or physical health disabilities requiring multi-system involvement. Many experience cultural, linguistic, socio-economic, and other barriers to care.

The purpose of the IUY SOC Implementation Initiative is to transform Illinois' continuum of services for high need children and youth with SED to realize the following goals:

  • Youth with SED and their families have access to a consistent array of services regardless of where they geographically reside in Illinois.
  • Youth with SED who are at risk for out-of-home placement have access to high fidelity wraparound support services in their home communities.
  • Throughout Illinois, services for youth with SED are culturally and linguistically relevant.
  • Throughout Illinois, services for youth with SED are evidence and trauma-informed.
  • Families and youth are full partners in care planning, development, delivery, and evaluation.
  • All child-serving systems partner with families and youth to educate and promote adoption of SOC principles among their leaders, workforce, and community-based providers.
  • State and local mental health resources are utilized efficiently and effectively on behalf of youth with SED, with reduced bureaucracy and barriers to care.

The Illinois United for Youth System of Care Cooperative Agreement (IUY-CA) will realize Illinois' Blueprint for the integration of the system of care (SOC) philosophy into the delivery of a full array of behavioral health services for youth with serious emotional disturbances (SED) statewide. The strategic planning and implementation process leverages the commitment of youth, their families, the state agencies that serve them, a myriad of other stakeholders, the collective experience of two currently SAMHSA-funded Systems of Care (SOCs) in Illinois, and the work of the IUY Stakeholders Team and Facilitation Team, which have been planning for statewide change since Fall 2010. The IUY-CA will result in care coordination mechanisms for youth with SED who have needs that require multi-system collaboration, with a particular focus on a small group of youth whose presenting behavioral issues are so severe their parents are willing to relinquish custody to the state.

The result of the cross-systems planning process is the IUY Pathways, a framework of 12 priorities and principles designed to transform Illinois' continuum of services into a model that can deliver intensive, community based services to children and adolescents that often have co-occurring behavioral, developmental, learning, and/or physical health disabilities requiring multi-system involvement. The service delivery model also embraces the cultural, linguistic, trauma-informed, socio-economic, and other needs of youth and families requiring services.

Central to the success of the IUY Pathways approach is the establishment and availability of training, technical support and infrastructure development through a statewide training center. It is the belief of the IUY Stakeholders that the more informed leadership, providers and families are about the benefits of the Systems of Care framework the more diligent and committed their efforts will be in financing, supporting, maintaining, and sustaining statewide System of Care. Also central to this effort is the support of active and sustainable family and youth organizations.