The purpose of the CONNECT initiative is to expand and sustain the statewide infrastructure and service delivery system in Connecticut through a Care Hub approach to CONNECTing Children and Families to Integrated Care. CareHubs are designed to address current system fragmentation between primary care, schools, behavioral health, and families. The System of Care Implementation Grant awarded to Connecticut in 2014 enabled the expansion, development and implementation of: a local, regional, and statewide Network of Care (NOC); a youth-guided, family-driven, and culturally responsive approach with youth and families as full partners; a statewide governance structure to guide SOC policy; and services and activities to enhance a comprehensive statewide data system for integration and quality. The 2014 grant yielded many successes at the systems and child-family levels. However, results from our network analyses clearly identified the need to develop a mechanism for caregivers, schools, pediatric primary care providers (PCPs) and community-based behavioral health providers to work collaboratively to provide support and services for youth with SED.
The population of focus for this grant includes all Connecticut (CT) youth with serious emotional disturbance (SED) who are at risk for: inpatient hospitalization, admission to psychiatric residential treatment facilities, use of hospital emergency departments for behavioral health crisis, suicidal ideation, clinical high risk for psychosis or early/first episode psychosis. Connecticut is the 29th most populated state with 3.6 million residents of who 868,332 (or 24% are children and youth). Children with Serious Emotional and Disturbance are estimated at 10% or (over 86,000 children). More than 1,300 children/youth receive Wrap-around services annually however, the use of restrictive services remains too high and there is a need for more services/supports to occur through integrated community-based care.
With a primary goal of reducing: 1) behavioral health visits to EDs; 2) utilization of state/private psychiatric/residential treatment facilities; 3) inpatient utilization; and, 4) youth suicide, this funding offers an opportunity to expand and apply our local infrastructure development through a CareHub model. The integrated CareHub model ensures that youth with SED/behavioral health needs are linked to appropriate locally-based care across the service array. With its request for $1,000,000 annually, this grant has four primary goals: 1) increase access to Connecticut’s service array for youth with SED through enhanced collaboration/communication between schools, PCPs, behavioral health agencies & families; 2) recruit, train, & support youth/families to participate as full partners & leaders in CT’s behavioral health system; 3) expand & sustain youth/family-driven local, regional, & statewide NOC infrastructure; and, 4) enhance & sustain comprehensive data system to promote integration & quality.