• Children

    Systems of Care
    Improving services for children and their families.

System of Care Readiness and Implementation Scale

As you begin planning for the implementation of a system of care, it is important to understand what essential characteristics of a system of care are in place in your communities, fully or partially, and what elements need to be created.

Dr. Behar's Work

Lenore B. Behar has worked for the past 37 years to improve services for children and their families. Initially, Dr. Behar focused on children in the mental health system. As she led efforts to develop services as the Chief of Child Mental Health Services in North Carolina, it became obvious to her that service improvement meant working together with the other child serving systems. Clearly, children with mental health/behavioral disorders were served in other systems, either together with the mental health system or separately.

She is considered a pioneer in the field of services to children and families and has been described as a "national treasure," according to Dr. Robert Friedman, Director of the Research and Training Center for Children's Mental Health at the University of South Florida. She piloted an integrated approach to services, beginning in 1980, in the State's response to the Willie M. lawsuit. This lawsuit also provided for the first demonstration of a statewide effort to provide intensive services in communities rather than institutions for children with serious emotional disorders. It was in the response to the Willie M lawsuit that "Wraparound services" were initially developed, as was the concept of "no eject, no reject." This early work was the first large scale system of care and became one of the bases for national efforts to create systems of care for children with mental health disorders and their families.

Lenore Behar has provided consultation and technical assistance throughout the country, in many states and localities and in several foreign countries-all focusing on improving services for children and their families. She served as member of a three-person Technical Assistance Panel appointed by the Federal Court to help the State of Hawaii develop a statewide system of care, as their obligation under an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit against the state. Please visit the biography or curriculum vita for more details.