Skip to Main Content

System of Care in Tennessee Expands to New Area with New Partnership

Collaboration with Children’s Services to improve outcomes for children and families
Wednesday, December 05, 2018 | 09:49am

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is expanding its System of Care Across Tennessee (SOCAT) program into a new, rural area of the state with a new partnership with the Department of Children’s Services (DCS).  The addition of a SOCAT site in Lawrenceburg will add eight new counties to the program bringing the total counties reached to 88.

SOCAT services are designed to reduce out-of-home placements for children, youth, and young adults experiencing emotional or behavioral concerns that affect their daily lives.  Participants in the program are at the top five percent of families who have received multiple services and supports but are still experiencing significant difficulties.  The program has a record of exceptional success preventing out-of-home placements for 95% of participant families. 

“This partnership with DCS at the new site in Lawrenceburg will help ensure that we’re serving the right families with the highest needs,” said Marie Williams, TDMHSAS Commissioner.  “We know Tennessee’s rural areas need more options for supporting youth and families, and we know the System of Care philosophy can be a game changer.”

The award of $110,000 in funding establishes 2 full-time positions and pays for their travel in the area.  The funding amount is designed to promote independence and sustainability.

“We’re building sustainability into this program by using targeted and tailored grant funding opportunities like this.  We want to continue to push the System of Care philosophy forward and encourage communities to partner with us to provide services,” said Keri Virgo, SOCAT Director.

“DCS is thrilled at the opportunity to partner with the SOCAT network.  We are hopeful this streamlined effort between our departments will quickly connect families with the needed resources and will help our children remain safely in their homes and communities, where they do best,” said Crystal Parker, MA, LAPSW, DCS Executive Director of Continuous Quality Improvement.

To learn more about SOCAT including eligibility and referral information, events, resources and trainings, visit