Mental health plan of action - Strategic plan and goals

Our vision is foster care youth and caregivers well equipped to cope with any mental health issues while in or when leaving the foster care system in Central Florida.

Our Mission is to improve the mental health care delivery system to foster care youth.

Definition: Mental Health Issues are episodic response to trauma and a Mental Health Illness is a chronic mental health condition. Mental disorders among children are serious deviations from expected cognitive, social, and emotional development.

We need a system of care that addresses both mental health illness and mental issues for our youth and properly diagnose each. The solution is based on a multifaceted approach that is integrated, forward looking, and nimble when needs arise. The standard offered in the Orange County Mayor’s report: Mental Health in childhood can be said to be characterized by the achievement of development and emotional milestones, health social development and effective coping skill, such that mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and can function well at home, at school, and in their communities. Important note – we need to focus on strengthening the character and resiliency of children as opposed to solely intervening after something has happened.

Our overwhelming obstacle is Funding! From the Orange County Mayor’s report – Florida is 49th in the nation in funding. Our region has the fourth largest child population in the state and is the second lowest funded. In simple terms, we must do more with less making every dollar count with a focus consistent with the mayor’s report of leveraging as much of current community resources as we can.

Four Pillars:

Empower youth to participate in mental health decision making – Educate and Empower.

Support caregivers in their ability to access mental health services for foster youth – Better Support.

Provide better education on the distinction between mental health issues and mental illness – Mental Illness versus Mental Health.

Improve quality of mental health services for foster youth – Improve quality of care.