According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately one in five children have experienced a seriously debilitating mental health disorder at least some point in their lives. For school-aged children, these disorders often impact the child’s health and well-being, as well as schools, communities and other systems. Without proper support, the child and family are often left to figure out on their own how to advocate for their needs amongst different service providers and agencies.

Faculty at the UNC Charlotte School of Social Work, along with representatives from Cardinal Innovations and North Carolina Families United have created a partnership to assist these systems in collaborating for the best interests of the child and family.

Through this partnership, they have focused on training social work students on systems of care involving child and family teams from the family perspective. These teams include friends, family members, agencies and providers that come together to work with the child and family on recovery and personal goals. The classroom environment turns into a simulated child and family team meeting as students assume roles and apply content learned from the training.

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