Maine Children’s Behavioral Health Services (CBHS) believes that all children and families should be empowered to live safe, stable, happy, and healthy lives. The Empower ME System of Care (SOC) grant expansion seeks funding to focus implementation efforts in rural, historically underserved counties in Maine. The need for improvement in mental health services in Aroostook, Penobscot, and Piscataquis counties, and across Maine, was documented in a 2018 programmatic evaluation conducted by Public Consulting Group (PCG). Difficulty in meeting an expanded demand for services, particularly community-based services, has resulted in growing waitlists, longer waits for services, children and youth waiting in hospital Emergency Departments for days or weeks during crisis, and use of services that are not necessarily a clinically-appropriate match for the child. From the assessment,13 statewide strategies were identified that lay the foundation for a comprehensive SOC. This grant project is intended to support the evolution of Maine’s strategic roadmap by developing the state’s infrastructure to support implementation of programs to improve quality and access to services. Specifically, the project will target youth 0 through 21 years of age with severe emotional disturbance (SED) who qualify for and are currently on the waitlist for Home and Community Based Treatment services. The project has three goals: 1) Expand the SOC in Maine through infrastructure development that supports SOC principles, clinical coordination, family engagement, data access, and quality improvement/ assurance; 2) Expand the SOC in rural areas through improved service delivery to youth with SED and families, including implementation of a standardized psychosocial needs assessment process for youth, standardized data collection by providers on youth needs, strengths, and functioning, and increased use of evidence-based practices with fidelity by providers in rural areas, and systematic workforce development efforts among providers; and, 3) Prepare for SOC sustainability by creating permanent infrastructure in state and local systems to support long-term access to treatment for children in their communities. This project will be implemented in four phases, starting with three rural Maine counties: Aroostook, Penobscot, and Piscataquis. In Year 2, the program will expand to three additional rural counties: Franklin, Oxford, and Androscoggin. In Year 3, the program will further expand to Knox, Lincoln, and Waldo counties, and implementation will be statewide by the end of Year 4. This approach will stagger program build-out to allow CBHS to staff key positions for Project Director, Lead Family Coordinator, Clinical Resource Coordinator, SOC Facilitator/ Cross-system Coordinator, Data Analyst and Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement Monitor needed for overall system management. Additionally, CBHS plans to subcontract the hiring of a youth Peer Specialist and a Parent/Peer Specialist for each county. The project will seek to enroll at least 50 youth in Year 1, 100 by Year 2, 150 by Year 3, and 200 by Year 4 for a total of 500 youth.