Spirit of Caring Project
Contra Costa County, California
The overall goal of the system-of-care wraparound program is to increase the independence of families, improve family functioning, and expand community capacity to support all children and families. Spirit of Caring focuses on developing the following infrastructure components: Policy and governance; Information infrastructure (integrated youth service management information system); Deepening the wraparound orientation to the system of care; Creating a flexible crisis response capacity; Expanding community/consumer empowerment and cultural competence of the system of care.
Contra Costa County is the ninth most populous county in California. It covers over 700 square miles and is divided into regions by its hills, the largest of which is Mt. Diablo, one of the highest peaks in the Bay Area. Spirit of Caring serves children and families in this large and very diverse county. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2004, the county has not grown much in the past several years. There are slightly over 1 million residents of Contra Costa County. About one quarter of them are children. More than 50 languages are spoken, and 100 countries are represented. The target population of Spirit of Caring continues to be children aged 5–18 with a few exceptions over 18 who were already receiving services and are transitioning from one service to another. To be eligible for enrollment, children must have evidence of the presence of an emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorder diagnosable under the DSM–IV, and have difficulty functioning in at least two areas of life, which requires multi-agency services to address. Also the condition must be persistent for at least 6 months and be expected to last for 6 more months. After the 05 assessment site visit, staff reported that figures regarding numbers of children served by the project were underreported in the 2004 report. As of June 30, 2004, the project served 1,298 children and families since the beginning of the grant. As of June 30, 2005, Spirit of Caring has served 1,654 children since grant funds were received. A total of 1,157 children, an increase of 257 from last year, have received only crisis services from the Mobile Response Team (MRT), and 399, an increase of 99 additional children and families, have received full wraparound services. Approximately 120 additional children and families have received assessment and initial engagement services but did not participate in ongoing formal wraparound service planning.