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Single Point of Accountability (SPOA)


The Erie County Department of Mental Health Family Voices Network (FVN) / Single Point of Accountability (SPOA) is a process designed to identify, screen and assign Care Coordination and Wraparound Services to eligible high need/high risk children and youth with a serious emotional disturbance (SED) and/or behavioral disorder and their families. The SPOA process targets children and youth at risk and/or with history of hospitalization or out-of-home placement, with multi-system involvement or needs, with substantial functional impairments and/or psychiatric symptoms, and an unsuccessful history of interventions. The primary goals of FVN/SPOA include maintaining high risk/high need children in the community with their families, reducing out-of-home placements, facilitating the earlier return of children and youth already placed out-of-home, increasing access to community based services, utilizing an individualized care model with a strength-based approach and assuring active parent involvement at all levels of FVN/SPOA.

Erie County has developed one front door for home based community services for all children and families served by the Departments of Social Services, Mental Health and PINS/PINS Diversion from Juvenile Justice. Within this one door, staff from all three departments are co-located and work cooperatively and collaboratively to meet the needs of the children seeking services from the county. There are multiple ways that the needs of cross-system children and youth are being identified and addressed within this one door:

  1. Family Voices Network (FVN) / Children's SPOA conducts an intake meeting where system partners are involved along with the parents of the child/youth seeking services, then assigns care coordinators to the youth and families who then facilitate Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings for each identified cross-system youth. The CFT meetings occur every 30 days for ongoing individualized treatment planning. (Note that referrals come from this front door and across the community as well.);
  2. Family Services Team (FST) that consists of DSS, Probation and Mental Health staff that intake preventive services, voluntary placement requests and PINS Diversion matters. The overall goals are to meet family service needs, sustain youth in the community with their families and reduce inappropriate penetration into the Juvenile Justice System;
  3. Safety Net for Youth is the county's former Hard to Place/Serve Committee under the Coordinating Council on Children and Families that monthly reviews challenging cases. The multi-system members of the committee review case specifics and brainstorm potential solutions to the service need not being met; and,
  4. Juvenile Delinquency Services Team (JDST) has active participation of Family Court, DSS, Mental Health and Probation. The overall goals are to meet service/intervention needs of youth and families and reduce further penetration into the Juvenile Justice System yet maintain balance with community safety.

Family Voices Network of Erie County is a system of care for children/youth experiencing serious emotional, behavioral and/or social challenges. The mission is to provide comprehensive, coordinated, individualized, culturally competent and cost effective community based services that support the children/youth and their families in order to maintain them in their home and community. Care Coordination services are planned and delivered with a family driven, strength-based focus using the wraparound process which creates collaboration between the children/youth, their families and a team they select.

Target Population:

  1. Children and youth ages 5-17 years old
  2. Parent, caregiver or legal guardian must reside in Erie County
  3. Child/Youth experiencing serious emotional, behavioral and/or social challenges
  4. Child/Youth at significant risk of hospitalization or placement out of their home or community, or
  5. Child/Youth currently in placement out of home or hospitalized and requires community based services/supports to successfully return home

Referral Process:

  1. Service provider and/or parent identifies that a child/youth meets the target population for Family Voices Network (FVN). 
  2. Service provider and parent/guardian complete FVN application and permission for disclosure form (consent form).  Service/treatment summary is included that identifies risk of placement/hospitalization as well as part/current interventions to address those risk factors.  If available, the DSM-IV 5Axis Diagnosis and the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) score (by domain) must be included.  Referral Process Form and Consent Form.
  3. County FVN staff review materials for completeness and schedule Intake meeting as soon as possible. Referral source/service provider and parent/guardian/youth are expected to attend the Intake meeting.
  4. When a family is approved for FVN Care Coordination, the parent/guardian and youth (if age appropriate) are given information to attend the required Child and Family Team (CFT) Orientation at Families CAN (Erie County's lead Family Support agency).
  5. When a family is not approved for FVN, other services and/or supports are recommended by the Intake Committee to meet needs identified in the referral as well as by the family at the Intake meeting.

For more information you may call (716) 858-1546 or (716) 858-1531.