Saginaw System of Care

In 2007 MSU partnered with the local service delivery system in Saginaw, Michigan to develop the Saginaw System of Care, whose purpose was to improve outcomes for youth with serious emotional disturbances. During the following three years the MSU team pursued strategies and processes suggested by the ABLe Change framework, working with local partners to understand their community through a systemic lens, to infuse systems thinking into their theory of change, and to build a climate for system transformation by addressing system readiness, capacity, diffusion, and sustainability. These efforts were enhanced through the development of a systemic action research process, the use of simple rules to align system efforts, and a focus on small wins to increase momentum for change. Much was accomplished as a result of this SOC effort, including enhanced service access, improvements in service coordination and collaboration, and strengthened inter-organizational trust. In Year 4, as a testament to the progress made to date, this community was one of nine selected to receive a federal system of care grant through Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA).