Economic and social changes in Saginaw County have left it with many challenges: a large percentage of single-parent households; high poverty and high-school drop-out rates, often spanning generations; high levels of unemployment, substance abuse, violent crime and other trauma. Complex emotional and behavioral challenges are often associated with many of these factors.
While Saginaw County had many of the resources needed to help young people who were struggling, they were often not used effectively or efficiently.
A collaborative of Saginaw County’s child welfare agencies was formed in 2009 to address the issue. It included leaders from youth and families, community mental health, juvenile justice, child welfare, educational systems and the nonprofit community. The group received a six-year grant — one of only seven awarded nationally that year — to develop a children’s mental health system of care. And Saginaw MAX System of Care was born.
Saginaw MAX is based on the premise that an effective system of care for youth with complex emotional and behavioral challenges must bring together all the parties responsible for supporting these youth, including:
- Youth and their families
- Community Mental Health
- Department of Human Services
- Juvenile Justice
- Care coordinators
- Family advocates
- Law enforcement
Representatives from these systems and support networks are members of the MAX planning teams.
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