Your place for CONNECTing News and Updates
Family Engagement - August 2021
Care Coordination Corner
What does Care Coordination look like in real life?
This is the story of a family and youth who used Care Coordination and the positive outcomes they experienced.

When sixteen-year-old Lizzy came into care coordination, she was in a “dark place”. She was referred from Mobile Crisis Intervention Services. Lizzy was refusing to go to school and spending all day in bed crying. Lizzy’s parents were overwhelmed and did not know where to turn. She went from singing in choir, playing guitar and piano, to having no interest in anything. Their bright vibrant honor student had completely shut down and they were worried about her. They agreed to a referral for Care Coordination with the hope to get their vibrant daughter back. [...]
Youth/Family Spotlight

Men Talk Mental Health
Written by Patricia Gaylord, Western Region Family System Manager and a Collective of Men around the State
We know there is a month to celebrate and raise awareness for so many things. Every May, we celebrate Mental Health Awareness and often men aren’t at the focus of the conversation. So, we asked the men of FAVOR what they would like to highlight to celebrate in June - Men’s Health Month. They extended the mental health conversation and we took their lead in key ways.
FAVOR’s Learning and Leadership Academy hosted a community conversation on men’s mental health. The conversation was honest with shared vulnerabilities and was authentic from a man’s perspective. You have to ask yourself, “Are there different mental health issues for women and men?” Of course not. Men have the same mental health issues as women, but society’s perception of what masculinity is has had such a negative impact on the male psyche. Men and their allies are starting to redefine masculinity and what it has the opportunity to be in this moment. We need to have open and honest conversations about men and mental health. Providing space and support for these conversations. [...]
Data Stories
CONNECTing to Care Data Stories are short, easy-to-read reports that tell a story about information collected during the CONNECTing to Care initiative. They are designed to share data with interested community members, families, youth and professionals to help facilitate a collective understanding of aspects of the network of care. Data Stories are created by The Consultation Center at Yale, our evaluation team for the CONNECTing to Care grant.

Data Story Highlight: Community Conversations  
Data Story Highlight: Family Engagement at Decision Making Tables
Partner Resources - Family Organizations
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Connecticut is the State Office of NAMI, the nation’s largest mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for all people affected by mental health conditions. Their mission is to provide no-cost education programs, support groups and advocacy for policies to improve the lives of people in Connecticut who are affected by mental health issues. Raising awareness about and promoting understanding of mental illness are essential to their mission and vision. 
Programs include:

  • Education - examples:
  • Ending the Silence, a school-based initiative providing students with age-appropriate information seeking to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Available for three audiences: students, families, and school staff. 

  • NAMI Basics, a 6-week program that provides strategies for parents and caregivers to overcome challenges related to their children's mental health conditions. 

  • Support Groups, including for Young Adults and Families
  • Outreach and Advocacy

Connecticut Family Support Network (CTFSN) exists to help families raising children with disabilities and special healthcare needs through the life span.

CTFSN Family Support Coordinators are ideally placed in their community to provide emotional support, advocacy and guidance to parents and other caregivers via telephone, email and social media. Each of them has a family member with a disability or special healthcare needs. The organization provides workshops for both parents and professionals on a wide variety of topics and empowers families to become effective advocates through support groups where parent-to-parent connections, access to resources and guest speakers are available. In addition, CTFSN also encourages individuals with disabilities to become successful self-advocates. Caregivers can access current information on disability issues and resources through email distribution lists, their website, and social media. CTFSN collaborates with local and state agencies, community groups and other non-profit organizations.

All CTFSN services are free!


Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center, Inc. (CPAC) is Connecticut’s federally funded Parent Training and Information (PTI) Center. It is a statewide non-profit organization that offers information and support related to special education. CPAC's mission is to educate, support, and empower Connecticut's diverse families of children and youth with disabilities, chronic conditions from birth to 26 and the professionals who serve them. CPAC empowers families to have the confidence, knowledge, and understanding they need to advocate for their children and to partner with professionals effectively. CPAC is staffed by parents of children with disabilities. Staff who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Creole, and French are available. CPAC offers daily phone consultation to any parent, agency, professional, or district staff. They also provide workshops for youth, parents, schools, teachers, and service providers throughout the state.

CPAC has programs to mentor and support families with understanding Individual Education Plans (IEP), Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings, and communication with the school district. For a listing and description of their programs please visit their website.

Celebrating 20 years of service, African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Inc. (AFCAMP), commonly known as AFCAMP Advocacy for Children, is a parent-led nonprofit organization. Their mission is to educate, empower and engage parents and the community to improve quality of life for children with special needs and others at risk of education inequity or system involvement. AFCAMP serves a diversity of parents, youth, and families that need not only special education services but are also trying to navigate the juvenile justice, child welfare, and health systems, including children’s behavioral health.

On the individual level, AFCAMP helps prepare parents, youth, family members and the community to become their own best advocates for the services they need within those systems. They also provide peer support specialists and family advocates to service providers.

As a voice for systems change, AFCAMP advocates for policy and program reforms that promote equity and equal access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services within multiple statewide and local child-serving systems within Connecticut. From their inception, equity has been at the heart of their work toward the longstanding vision “that all children have the opportunity to realize their talents, dreams, and goals to their highest potential.”

Systems Change Articles
The Evolution of the System of Care (SOC) Approach
for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Mental Health Conditions
and Their Families

The Institute for Innovation & Implementation
By Beth A. Stroul, MEd; Gary M. Blau, PhD; and Justine Larson, MD

The system of care (SOC) approach was first introduced in the mid-1980s to address well-documented problems in mental health systems for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances (SEDs) and their families. Among these problems were significant unmet need for mental health care, overuse of excessively restrictive settings, limited home- and community-based service options, lack of cross-agency coordination, and a lack of partnerships with families and youth.
The vision was to offer a comprehensive array of community-based services and supports that would be coordinated across systems; individualized; delivered in the appropriate, least restrictive setting; culturally competent; and based on full partnerships with families and young people. The SOC approach has provided a framework for reforming child and youth mental health systems nationwide and has been implemented and adapted across many states, communities, tribes, and territories with positive results.

These efforts have resulted in significant strides across the United States in addressing youth mental health issues. However, notwithstanding this progress, there is a continuing need to improve SOCs based on environmental changes, changes in health and human service delivery, experience, and data from evaluations and research. [...]
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Upcoming Meeting Dates:
The Children's Behavioral Health Advisory Committee (CBHAC) meets on the first Friday of the month, from 10am-12pm. The next meeting is September 10, 2021, due to the Labor Day holiday.
CBHAC's mission is to promote and enhance the provision of behavioral health services for all children in Connecticut. Appointed members and community guests attend monthly meetings to address these needs across the state. This committee must submit an annual report that provides recommendations concerning behavioral health service delivery.
CBHAC is open to the public. If you are interested in attending or receiving email communications from the CBHAC, please contact your regional Network of Care Manager or Family Systems Manager.
Your Ideas!

If you have an idea or suggestion for other topics to include in our newsletters, don’t hesitate to contact Daniela Giordano at
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