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September 2007Vol. 8, No. 8Financing for Systems of Care

A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide: Developing a Comprehensive Financing Plan is the first in a series of technical assistance tools to result from a 5-year study on financing systems of care. Conducted by the Research and Training Center for Children's Mental Health (RTC) at the University of South Florida and its partners, including the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health at Georgetown University, the study examines cross-agency financing strategies that communities can use to build integrated systems of care for children with serious emotional disturbances and their families. The study uses a participatory research approach, gathering data from 10 case study sites.

During the first year of the study, researchers surveyed financing experts, State and county administrators, Tribal representatives, and others to develop a list of critical financing strategies. The results became the basis of A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide. The guide addresses seven areas to help sites develop strategic financing plans:

  • Identification of current spending and utilization patterns
  • Realignment of funding streams and structures
  • Financing of appropriate services and supports
  • Financing to support family and youth partnerships
  • Financing to improve cultural competence and reduce racial disproportionality in care
  • Financing to improve the workforce for behavioral health services
  • Financing for accountability

The complete guide, by Mary I. Armstrong et al., is available on the RTC website:,/a> (PDF - 1,100 KB)