A coordinated system of service and support provision can help youth with mental health, substance abuse, and related needs successfully transition into adulthood. Unfortunately, the level of true interagency collaboration needed to achieve such coordination is lacking in many communities around the country.
Systems of care, however, is one effort that has demonstrated success over the past 30 years in fostering greater levels of interagency collaboration. This collaboration within systems of care leads to a coordinated system of service provision that can be more effective and efficient in meeting the mental health, substance abuse, and other related needs of transition age youth and their families than agencies and providers working in isolation.
In the end, however, creating high-quality systems of care and adhering to their principles at local, state, and federal levels requires diligent and strategic collaboration strategies in order to maximize youth outcomes. While continued evolution of systems of care is needed to improve services and supports for transition age youth, the strides already made by communities are helping these young people achieve better outcomes and lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.