March 18, 2019

Children’s Council Focuses on Collaboration

The Children’s Council meeting on March 15th included discussion that emphasized the need to strengthen formal processes and information sharing across health and human services as it applies to children involved with local departments of social services, LME/MCOs, schools and juvenile justice.  The Children’s Council is formally known as the Child Well-Being Transformation Council.  This Council was established by the legislature under the S.L. 2017-41, “Rylan’s Law”. 

The Council is led by Rep. Sarah Stevens and includes stakeholders that are local directors of social services, providers and advocates of child welfare services, subject matter experts, law enforcement officers, and juvenile justice representatives.  Referring to the Council, Rylan’s Law states   the following: “The welfare of North Carolina’s children is a priority. There are many public and private agencies and organizations across the State involved with promoting the welfare of children and protecting them from harm, such as those involving child care, education, health care, social services, and juvenile justice. Though these agencies and organizations provide important services, they often fail to collaborate, coordinate, and communicate about those services. A more systematic and coordinated approach to services will help ensure that the State achieves the best possible outcomes for children. Therefore, the General Assembly finds that it is essential that a single body serve as a means for coordination, collaboration, and communication among agencies and organizations involved in providing public services to children.” 

At the March 15th meeting, members of the Council discussed the vision for change in the child welfare system, the current Child and Family Services Review process, the connection between this group and the Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration Working Group, and general principles around trauma-informed care for children.  There will undoubtedly be in-depth consideration of the collaboration between the child welfare and BH/IDD public systems.  Lisa Cauley, Deputy Director for Child Welfare at the NC Division of Social Services stated at the meeting, “It doesn’t matter if your community has a behavioral health service.  It matters if the young person received a behavioral health service.” 

The Council is expected to submit a report to the General Assembly by June 30th of each year that it meets.