Priorities of Saginaw MAX System of Care

PrioritiesFor many years, our way of dealing with young people with complex emotional and behavioral challenges was largely ineffective.

That’s in part because each child is unique, each family is unique and there are so many different agencies and entities that may be involved in helping children with these challenges: the juvenile justice system, the healthcare system, the mental health system, the educational system, the insurance system, the human services system.

In short, there were just too many “systems” — each with its own rules, goals, restrictions and boundaries. While any or all of them might have done their jobs extremely well, the boundaries of each system created cracks. And many children would at least stumble on one or more of those cracks — if not fall through them completely.

Making matters worse, not everyone in the various systems of care completely understands complex emotional and behavioral challenges. Some believe it is a failure in parenting or simply bad behavior choices by children. This unfair and inaccurate stigmatization of children with complex emotional and behavioral challenges and their families only delays or denies the help they need.

This was complicated further because many systems weren’t “culturally competent.” They often failed to understand or accommodate some of the unique needs and challenges of minorities.

Saginaw MAX System of Care pulls all these different systems into one coordinated structure. That structure is driven by five priorities:

  • Family and youth voice will be the driver of treatment and care.
  • Service delivery will be coordinated and comprehensive rather than fragmented.
  • Financial resources will be blended rather than strictly categorized.
  • Wherever possible, services will be delivered in supportive, normalized environments rather than out-of-home placements.
  • All care is focused on self-help rather than dependency.

This creates, for each child, a well-informed, well-coordinated team — a team that includes, at the center, the child and his or her family. They are part of the planning process, ensuring each child’s concerns, culture and background are fully addressed and needs fully met.

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