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COD Co-Occurring Disorder

CSoC Coordinated System of Care

FSS Family Support Specialist

GED General Educational Development (a high school equivalency diploma)

HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

SED Serious emotional disturbance




An advocate speaks on the behalf of another person, an advocate values independence and self-determination. An advocate helps another in navigating the service array and being aware of rights.


Behavioral disorder

A behavioral disorder is one of the most common forms of SED among children and youth and is the most frequently cited reason for referral to mental health services. Behavioral disorders become apparent when the individual displays a repetitive and impact-persistent pattern of behavior that substantially interferes with or limits a child’s role or functioning in family, school, or community activities.


Best practice

Best practice is the best clinical or administrative practice or approach at the moment, given the situation, the consumer’s or family’s needs and desires, the evidence about what works for this situation/need/desire, and the resources available. Sometimes, the term “best practice” is used synonymously with the term “evidence-based practice.” Sometimes, “best practice” is used to describe guidelines or practices driven more by clinical wisdom, guild organizations, or other consensus approaches that do not include systematic use of available research evidence.



A person who provides support to the disabled, ill, or dependent individual, and has principal responsibility for taking care of his needs. This person may or may not be a direct family member.


Care management

The provision of, and the assurance that an individual receives, comprehensive, intensive and individualized treatment for SED that conforms to and addresses an individualized plan of care, and entails monitoring to ensure progress or completion of tasks.


Child and family team

The child family team consists of the child/youth (when appropriate), family or other caregivers, formal (mental health professionals, school staff, etc.) and informal supports. The team assists the family in developing and implementing a plan of care based on the family’s unique strengths and needs.



Services are planned and provided with the unique strengths and needs of the child in mind rather than fitting the child into an existing service.


Child-serving systems

Child-serving systems are those systems that provide services to children with serious emotional disturbance and their families according to their legal mandates and best practices in each specific field.



Competencies are elements of a knowledge base and a set of skills that include technical/subject matter, knowhow, experience, and training. They are particular strengths and abilities relative to the practice of a profession measured against a standard.


Co-occurring disorder

The term co-occurring disorders (COD) refers to co-occurring substance-related and mental health disorders. Clients with CODs have at least one substance-related disorder as well as at least one mental health disorder.


Coordinated System of Care (CSoC)

A CSoC is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that are organized to meet the challenges of children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Families and youth work in partnership with public and private organizations to design mental health services and supports that are effective, that build on the strengths of individuals, and that address each person's cultural and linguistic needs. A CSoC helps children, youth and families function better at home, in school, in the community and throughout life. CSoC also refers to a philosophy of how care should be delivered. CSoC is an approach to services that recognizes the importance of family, school and community, and seeks to promote the full potential of every child and youth by addressing their physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and social needs.


Crisis plan

The crisis plan is developed by the child family team and focuses on a concrete plan of action for use in the event of a mental health crisis.


Cultural competency

A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. Competency implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and need presented by families and their communities.


Cultural differences

Differences among individuals based on a number of factors including but not limited to race, ethnicity, religious orientation, political affiliation, sex, education level, individual family values and beliefs.


Culture (s)

Culture refers to an integrated pattern of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups.


Emotional disorder

An emotional impairment exhibited by a child or youth that disrupts his academic and/or developmental progress, and family and interpersonal relationships.


Emotional disturbance

A condition exhibiting certain characteristics over a long period of time that adversely affects performance at school, home or community.



Evidence-based practice is the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values, or clinical or administrative interventions or practices for which there is consistent scientific evidence showing that they improve client outcomes. The term evidence-based practices sometimes encompasses the terms, best, promising, and emerging practices.



An individual who helps in a group discussion with understanding common objectives and assists in planning without taking a position in the discussion. A facilitator will assist a group in achieving a consensus on disagreements.



Family-driven means families have a primary decision-making role in the care of their own children. This includes:

  • Choosing culturally and linguistically competent supports, services, and providers;
  • Setting goals; and
  • Monitoring outcomes.

Family Support Provider

An advocate, support, and care coordinator for caregivers of a child or youth with SED.


Family Support Specialist

A Family Support Specialist (FSS) is a person who has self-identified as the caregiver of a child or youth with an emotional, behavioral or co-occurring disorder and who has successfully navigated the child serving system to access treatment and resources necessary to build resiliency and foster success in the home, school and community. A SS has undergone training recognized by TDMH on how to assist other caregivers in fostering resiliency. Direct peer-to-peer support services provided by the FSS are a vital resource to assist families and others who are caring for children and youth with emotional, behavioral or co-occurring disorders.


Healing communication

Communication that is nonjudgmental, demonstrates respect and dignity, and promotes unconditional positive regard in an effort to assist another person healing their emotional pain and stress.


Individualized service plan /  Individualized plan of care

A plan that is comprehensive, coordinated, age-appropriate, provides smooth transition through life stages, involves families as appropriate, and is developed by qualified professionals in consultation with service recipients and family members as appropriate.


Interpersonal relations

Therapeutic processes that are used to facilitate interaction between individuals as contrasted with a medical or professional/client relationship model.


Mental Health Professional

A board eligible or a board certified psychiatrist or a person with at least a Master’s degree and/or clinical training in an accepted mental health field which includes, but is not limited to, counseling, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, social work, vocational rehabilitation, or activity therapy.


Mental illness

A psychiatric disorder, alcohol dependence, or drug dependence; does not include mental retardation or other developmental disabilities.



A caring individual who, along with parents or guardians, provides youth with support, advice, friendship, reinforcement and examples that can help youth from all circumstances succeed.



An unobtrusive approach in counseling which encourages free expression and problem resolution by the individual.



An attitude that avoids or suspends judgmental criticism of what a person in expressing.


Open-ended questions

Questions which do not require a specific answer. Most therapists are trained to ask open-ended questions as a way of allowing clients to talk about whatever is important to them, which encourages them to share important material.



A consumer of mental health services who works with other mental health consumers.


Peer counseling / Peer counselor

Peer counseling is the process by which a trained peer gives nonjudgmental, nondirective support to a peer who is experiencing a personal crisis. It is short-term and provided by a peer instead of a mental health professional.


Peer educator

A consumer of mental health services who works with other consumers on educational issues.


Peer (-to-peer) support

Mutual support – including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills and social learning plays an invaluable role in recovery. Consumers encourage and engage other consumers in recovery and provide each other with a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles, and community.



Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential.



Resiliency is an inner capacity that when nurtured, facilitated, and supported by others, empowers children, youth, and families to successfully meet life’s challenges with a sense of self-determination, mastery, hope, and well-being.



A caregiver’s intentional self-regard, attitudes, and behaviors that prioritizes one’s own need for support, information, and resources to reduce stress and prevent burnout. A plan to sustain one’s own wellness.


Seeking out common ground

Finding common interest and or experiences to foster trust and open dialog with another.


Serious emotional disturbance (SED)

Children with SED are defined as persons from birth to age 18, who currently or at any time during the past year, have had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that is of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria for the disorder specified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV-TR) and has resulted in a functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits a child’s role or functioning in family, school, or community activities. Serious emotional disturbances do not include developmental disorders, substance-related disorders, or conditions or problems classified in the DSM-IV-TR as “other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention unless they co-occur with another diagnosable serious emotional disturbance.”



A strengths-based approach assumes people are, or have the capacity to become competent. The approach focuses on personal development of the family’s strengths rather than treatment of deficits by building on the multiple capacities, resiliencies, talents, coping abilities, and inherent worth of individuals.



Stress is the consequence of the failure to adapt to change: the condition that results when person-environment transactions lead someone to perceive a discrepancy, whether real or not, between the demands of a situation, on the one hand and, on the other, the resources of their biological, psychological or social systems. Stressful stimuli can be mental or physical.


Support group leader

A leader of a support group; they may be a professional leading a group or a peer leading a peer support group. The leader functions as a facilitator allowing the group self-direction while acting as a moderator for the group.


Support network

A network of systems, professionals, family, friends and peers developed by an individual to provide the individualized support that they require.


Wellness Plan

A self-directed wellness plan working toward meeting life dreams and goals. The plan identifies issues that provide hope and control over people’s lives. Personal wellness plans identify specific problematic issues, as well as the thoughts, feelings, and experiences with the issues. It helps in identifying goals, working on problematic issues and reaching the personal goals.



Wraparound is a team-based planning process intended to provide individualized, coordinated, family-driven care to meet the complex needs of children who are involved with several child 48 and family-serving systems, who are at risk of placement in institutional settings, and who experience emotional, behavioral, or mental health difficulties. The wraparound process requires that families, providers, and key members of the family’s social support network collaborate to build a creative plan that responds to the particular needs of the child and family. Team members then implement the plan and continue to meet regularly to monitor progress and make adjustments to the plan as necessary. The team continues its work until members reach a consensus that a formal wraparound process is no longer needed. Wraparound should be individualized, family-driven, culturally competent and community based. Wraparound should increase the “natural support” available to a family by strengthening interpersonal relationships and utilizing other resources that are available in the family’s network of social and community relationships and should be “strengths based,” helping the child and family to recognize, utilize, and build talents, assets, and positive capacities.



Youth-guided means that young people have the right to be empowered, educated, and given a decision-making role in the care of their own lives. This includes giving young people a sustainable voice, being listened to, and the focus should be towards creating a safe environment enabling a young person to gain self-sustainability in accordance to the cultures and believes they abide by.