The State of South Dakota has undergone inspiring transformational changes as they continue to build a framework for statewide partnership and progress toward an integrated System of Care (SOC) that provides individualized services and supports for children, youth, and families.
Jessica Tomasko, LCSW, is currently the lead Technical Assistance Specialist working on behalf of WICHE on this initiative. In an effective Systems of Care, families and youth work in partnership with informal supports, schools, mental health centers, psychiatric treatment programs, social service organizations, juvenile justice programs, and primary health care organizations to design services and supports that are coordinated, individualized, community-based, youth and family-driven, build on the strengths of individuals, and address each person’s cultural and linguistic needs in a hopeful, welcoming, and engaging manner.
The SOC Initiative commenced in 2007 with a Pilot Project in Rapid City, and has since expanded across the state. Currently, there are three SOC Steering Committees (SOC-SC) located in Rapid City, Pierre, and Sioux Falls. Each of the SOC-SCs have worked hard to create a solid collaboration of representatives from families, Community Mental Health Centers, Child Protection, Juvenile Justice, Education, as well as other civic and child-serving community partners.
The SOC-SCs adopted SOC values and principles, developed specific visions, missions, and strategic action plans, and are currently completing a System of Care Assessment Tool (SOCAT) designed to find meaningful next steps in SOC implementation. Due to the buy-in from system leadership and unwavering commitment of state and local partners, SOC regions are nearing a critical tipping point with implementation and are ready to take the next step of gathering qualitative and quantitative data to document changes that are happening with families and providers. Ms. Tomasko will continue to provide technical assistance to the existing SOC-SCs and assist the Division of Community Behavioral Health as they coordinate SOC efforts with other SD initiatives, including Co-Occurring and Suicide Prevention.