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System of Care: Children, Youth, and Families

Coordinator: Shannon Fitzpatrick Thomas, MA

System of Care


Every youth and family in Delaware County will be able to easily access a collaborative network of systems and supports that partners with youth and families to reach their goals.


Our mission is to ensure that System of Care principles are standard practice in Delaware County and that youth and family voices are valued, respected, and welcomed. Our System of Care will be responsible and accountable for positive outcomes that support health and wellness.

System of Care Principles

  • Youth driven
  • Family driven
  • Collaboration among child-serving systems
  • Valuing natural and community supports
  • Culturally and linguistically competent
  • A planning process that emphasizes youth and family voice and choice with equal partnership among youth, family, and systems
  • Evaluation and continuous quality improvement

Who We Are

Delaware County enrolled as a System of Care County on February 14, 2014 through a grant from the PA System of Care (SOC) Partnership. We formed a System of Care County Leadership Team with equal representation from youth, families, and county system partners. We work as equal and trusted partners to provide comprehensive and effective care to empower youth, families, and all child serving systems to be responsible and accountable for positive outcomes that support health and wellness.

Our System of Care Champions are:

  • Kate Fisher, Youth Partner, founder of Bully Free Friends, Certified Peer Specialist and MY LIFE leader
  • April Philips, Youth Partner, President of Youth Advisory Board
  • Andrea Klein, Family Partner, Director, Family Empowerment Satisfaction Team
  • Marylou Shirey, Family Partner, Family Empowerment Satisfaction Team
  • Dan Fisher, Program Director, High Fidelity Wrap Around, Child & Family Focus
  • Dr. Andy Kind-Rubin, Psychologist & Family Partner, Child Guidance Resource Centers
  • Deirdre Gordon, System Partner, Administrator, Children & Youth Services
  • Gretchen Sidler, System Partner, Placement Administrator, Children & Youth Services
  • Jeremy Damia, System Partner, Administrative Supervisor, Juvenile Court & Probation
  • Jill Angelos, System Partner, Administrative Supervisor, Juvenile Court & Probation
  • Jeanne Ewing, System Partner, Deputy System of Care Coordinator, Office of Behavioral Health
  • Shannon Fitzpatrick Thomas, System & Family Partner, System of Care Coordinator, Office of Behavioral Health
  • Tracey Wolf, System Partner, Supervisor of Pupil Services, Delaware County Intermediate Unit
  • Maria Edelberg, System Partner, Assistant Executive Director of Educational Programs, Delaware County Intermediate Unit
  • Tara Karbiner, System Partner, Children's Clinical Systems Transformation Manager, Magellan Health Services
  • Terry Fagan, Family Partner
  • Karen Insogna, Family Partner

What We Do

System of Care seeks to transform the way services and supports are provided to children, youth, and families who have mental health needs and involvement in child welfare and/or juvenile justice. Every youth and family in Delaware County will be able to access culturally competent services and supports that partner with youth and families to reach their goals while strengthening family and community connections.

What We Provide

System of Care is more than programs and services: it is a philosophy about how care should be delivered. High Fidelity Wrap Around is a planning process available to youth and families who are accessing mental health services and have involvement in child welfare and/or juvenile justice. High Fidelity Wrap Around assists youth and families to determine their goals, be the leaders of their own team, and access natural and community supports. High Fidelity Wrap Around brings mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice, and natural and community supports to the table to support the youth and family in achieving their goals.

Delaware County System of Care supports the following:

  • Bully Free Friends Peer Run group
  • Children's Mental Health Awareness Week
  • Delaware County Children's Cabinet and Coalition
  • Delaware County Department of Human Services Website enhancement
  • DelCo System of Care Family Engagement Workgroup
  • High Fidelity Wrap Around
  • LGBTQQIA Fall Forum: Beyond the Rainbow: Connecting Communities & Engaging Understanding
  • My Life and MY FEST
  • My Life's 5th Annual MY FEST event at Rose Tree Park- September 27, 2014. Join us for our System of Care Kickoff event!!! Free event!
  • Parent Empowerment Through Advocacy and Knowledge training through Parents Involved Network
  • Trauma Informed Initiatives
  • Youth and Family Leadership
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Training for Juvenile Court and Probation, Children and Youth Services, Juvenile Detention Center, Human Services and the community
  • Youth System of Care Partners

Bully Free Friends (BFF)

Started by Kate Fisher in 2011, Bully Free Friends is a program for middle and high school aged youth who have experienced bullying. BFF provides a safe, bully free zone for socialization, peer support, and education. Meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit located at 200 Yale Ave in Morton, PA 19070.

BFF does NOT provide group therapy. Crisis services directories are available at all meetings. If you're in immediate crisis, please call 9-1-1. If you're feeling hopeless or alone, the National Lifeline is free, confidential, and open 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK.


Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2014

National Children's Mental Health Awareness (CMHA) Day is a key strategy of the Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign, which is part of SAMHSA's Public Awareness and Support Strategic Initiative. The effort seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health and that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth.


For CMHA Background Materials and Resources


Women, Children, & Families: Training and Technical Assistance

Treating Women, Children, and Families

Resources are available for addressing the behavioral health and recovery of women and their families. Find current SAMHSA and other government agency reports, links, presentations, and tools of interest to providers, policymakers, and other stakeholders.


Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)


What you Learn

Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack — even if you have no clinical training — Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.

Topics Covered

Before you can know how to help, you need to know when to help. We call this mental health literacy – or a basic understanding of what different mental illnesses and addictions are, how they can affect a person's daily life, and what helps individuals experiencing these challenges get well.

You learn about

  • Depression and mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Trauma
  • Psychosis
  • Substance Use disorders

Mental Health First Aid teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.

The Mental Health First Aid Action Plan


Assess for risk of suicide or harm

When helping a person going through a mental health crisis, it is important to look for signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, non-suicidal self-injury, or other harm. Some warning signs of suicide include:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
  • Seeking access to means to hurt or kill oneself
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Withdrawing from family, friends, or society
  • Appearing agitated or angry
  • Having a dramatic change in mood

Always seek emergency medical help if the person's life is in immediate danger. If you have reason to believe someone may be actively suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Listen nonjudgmentally

It may seem simple, but the ability to listen and have a meaningful conversation requires skill and patience. Listening is critical in helping an individual feel respected, accepted, and understood. Mental Health First Aid teaches you to use a set of verbal and nonverbal skills such as open body posture, comfortable eye contact, and other strategies to engage in appropriate conversation.

Give reassurance and Information

It is important to recognize that mental illnesses and addictions are real, treatable illnesses from which people can and do recover. When talking to someone you believe may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, approach the conversation with respect and dignity and don't blame the individual for his or her symptoms. Mental Health First Aid provides information and resources you can offer to someone to provide emotional support and practical help.

Encourage appropriate professional help

There are many professionals who can offer help when someone is in crisis or may be experiencing the signs and symptoms of a mental illness or addiction.

  • Types of Professionals
    • Doctors (primary care physicians or psychiatrists)
    • Social workers, counselors, and other mental health professionals
    • Certified peer specialists

  • Types of Professional Help
    • "Talk" therapies
    • Medication
    • Other professional supports

The Mental Health First Aid course provides a variety of local and national resources to connect individuals in need to care.

Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Individuals with mental illness can contribute to their own recovery and wellness through:

  • Exercise
  • Relaxation and meditation
  • Participating in peer support groups
  • Self-help books based on cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Engaging with family, friends, faith, and other social networks

Mental Health First Aid helps you to identify potential sources of support and to practice offering these supports to the person you are helping.

Interventions Learned

When you take a course, you learn how to apply the Mental Health First Aid action plan in a variety of situations, including when someone is experiencing:

  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Nonsuicidal self-injury
  • Acute psychosis (e.g., hallucinations or delusions)
  • Overdose or withdrawal from alcohol or drug use
  • Reaction to a traumatic event

The opportunity to practice — through role plays, scenarios, and activities — makes it easier to apply these skills in a real-life situation.

To find a course visit: http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/take-a-course/find-a-course/

Interested agencies and communities in Delaware County can contact Shannon Fitzpatrick Thomas (Youth & Adult MHFA Models) or Tracey Halliday (Adult, Public Safety & Higher Education MHFA Models) at 610-713-2365 to discuss hosting a course.

Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by the:

National Council for Behavioral Health: http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/SitePages/Home.aspx

Missouri Department of Mental Health: http://dmh.mo.gov/


Delaware County Youth & Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Shannon Fitzpatrick Thomas and Kevin Hines, Author of Cracked not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt.


Delaware County Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Colleen, instructing our Juvenile Probation Officers.


Delaware County Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor, John, and MHFA Mascot, ALGEE, instructing Delaware County stakeholders in recognition of Children's Mental Health Awareness Week 2014.


Delaware County Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Andy, instructing Delaware County stakeholders in recognition of Children's Mental Health Awareness Week 2014.

DelCo's 6 new Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructors: Theresa, Jeanne, Laura, John, Dan, and Maria.

Owner and Director of Glen Mills Counseling, Theresa and the Mental Health First Aid mascot, Algee the Koala.

How to Contact

Delaware County System of Care
C/O Office of Behavioral Health
20 South 69th Street, 3rd Floor
Upper Darby, PA 19082

Shannon Fitzpatrick Thomas, System of Care Coordinator- 610-713-2479
Jeanne Ewing, Deputy System of Care Coordinator- 610-713-2496
Mary Garrett Itin, System of Care Consultant- 610-713-2272
Email: systemofcare@delcohsa.org

Follow Us on Social Media

Facebook Page


YouTube Page


Pinterest Page


Twitter Page


Resources & Helpful Links

PA System of Care Partnership


National Wrap Around Initiative


Delaware County High Fidelity Wrap Around Brochures

High Fidelity Wrap Around - Parents

High Fidelity Wrap Around - Professionals

Bully Free Friends


Magellan of PA's MY LIFE


Youth & Family Institute


Mental Health Association of SEPA


Delaware County System of Care Acronym List

Click here to download

Funding provided by Delaware County Council and the Delaware
County Department of Human Services ~ System of Care

Delaware County is a partner County in the PA System of Care Partnership. The PA System of Care Partnership is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).