The Development of a Community-Based System of Care

Susan C. Ayers and D. Russell Lyman

in Handbook of Community-Based Clinical Practice

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780195159226
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893843 | DOI:
The Development of a Community-Based System of Care

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Shirley, a 33-year-old African-American mother of seven children, became involved with agency clinicians in 1988, after all the children had been removed from her care multiple times by the state's child protective agency. Shirley, who had become a mother at 16, was about to lose them permanently. More than a decade later, in 2003, Shirley remains involved with the Guidance Center, Inc., a community agency serving the comprehensive developmental, mental health, and family support needs of children and families in Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Today, Shirley is a psychologically stronger woman who has developed more effective parenting skills. The Guidance Center's community-based clinical practice model evolved in response to the needs of parents like Shirley. The model and practice were crafted through the creative mix of visionary leadership and active, experienced, flexible staff, who worked with Shirley and other courageous families and children needing mental health intervention. This chapter uses Shirley's story throughout to put the Guidance Center's model and the development of its integrated service continuum into a historical context. It also illustrates how a combination of descriptive clinical research, knowledge of best practice, and dynamic advocacy can be used to secure resources, facilitate change, and ultimately create a comprehensive continuum of care for troubled children and families.

Keywords: social work practice; Guidance Center Inc; community-based clinical practice; social services

Chapter.  12915 words.  Illustrated.

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