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TDMHSAS Announces SOCAT Expansion Sites

Program supports families with children, adolescents, or young adults with mental health concerns
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 | 11:26am

NASHVILLE—A program to support families with children, adolescents, and young adults as they address mental health concerns is expanding into seven new counties.  The expansion of the System of Care Across Tennessee (SOCAT) initiative builds on a program that was established in October 2016 by a 4-year, $12 million federal grant.

“The SOCAT initiative really is how all state services should be designed: to wrap around people and make sure they receive the comprehensive supports they need,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams.  “When you wrap services and supports around families and young people in a program like this, you have the opportunity to change the course of someone’s life, and that’s a really powerful thing.  In partnership with Governor Haslam’s Children’s Cabinet and the Single Team | Single Plan initiative, we’re working hard to break down barriers between departments that often touch the same Tennesseans.”

The newest counties to receive resources through the expansion are: Clay, Cocke, Decatur, DeKalb, Johnson, Meigs, and Tipton counties.  The new SOCAT sites will receive funding to hire a care coordinator and family support specialist (FSS) to work with families who have young children, youth, or young adults with mental health concerns.

“We’re already seeing the difference that SOCAT is making in our current counties, and this expansion is just going to spread this tried and true service delivery model even farther,” said SOCAT Project Director Keri Virgo.  “We’re excited to expand this program to new counties where coordination of resources can often be complicated by factors that are unique to rural communities.”

SOCAT utilizes System of Care values and principles while empowering Tennessee families to work together with child-serving agencies as a partner to guide their care.  The goals of SOCAT include:

  • Decreasing the utilization of inpatient care
  • Reducing the number of out-of-home placements
  • Improving community functioning, including school attendance and performance
  • Improving and sustaining positive mental health, including increases in behavioral and emotional strengths in children, youth, and young adults

The program focuses on youth age 21 or younger who are experiencing emotional or behavioral concerns that affect their daily life (i.e. having trouble in school, with their family, with peers or adults, with law enforcement, or children's services).  Additionally, SOCAT focuses on young people who are having difficulty or are at-risk of being kicked out of school or have been or are currently at-risk of psychiatric hospitalization, residential placement, or placement in DCS custody.

The awardees for the seven expansion counties are:

  • Frontier Health (Johnson county). 
  • Mental Health Cooperative, Inc. (DeKalb county)
  • Professional Care Services of West TN, Inc. (Tipton county)
  • Tennessee Voices for Children (Decatur, Clay, and Cocke counties)
  • Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System (Meigs county)

Current SOCAT locations are in Coffee, Madison, Putnam, and Sevier counties.  To learn more, visit this link or contact Keri Virgo at (615) 770-0462 or keri.virgo@tn.gov