It is the intent of the Legislature that the following principles guide the development and implementation of the publicly funded child and adolescent mental health treatment and support system:
(1) The system should be centered on the child, adolescent, and family, with the needs and strengths of the child or adolescent and his or her family dictating the types and mix of services provided.
(2) The families and surrogate families of children and adolescents, including, but not limited to, foster parents, should be active participants in all aspects of planning, selecting, and delivering mental health treatment services at the local level, as well as in developing statewide policies for child and adolescent mental health services.
(3) The system of care should be community based, with accountability, the location of services, and the responsibility for management and decisionmaking resting at the local level.
(4) The system should provide timely access to a comprehensive array of cost-effective mental health treatment and support services.
(5) Children and adolescents who receive services should receive individualized services, guided by an individualized service plan, in accordance with the unique needs and strengths of each child or adolescent and his or her family.
(6) Through an appropriate screening and assessment process, treatment and support systems should identify, as early as possible, children and adolescents who are in need of mental health services and should target known risk factors.
(7) Children and adolescents should receive services within the least restrictive and most normal environment that is clinically appropriate for the service needs of the child or adolescent.
(8) Mental health programs and services should support and strengthen families so that the family can more adequately meet the mental health needs of the family’s child or adolescent.
(9) Children and adolescents should receive services that are integrated and linked with schools, residential child-caring agencies, and other child-related agencies and programs.
(10) Services must be delivered in a coordinated manner so that a child or adolescent can move through the system of services in accordance with the changing needs of the child or adolescent.
(11) The delivery of comprehensive child and adolescent mental health services must enhance the likelihood of positive outcomes and contribute to the child’s or adolescent’s ability to function effectively at home, at school, and in the community.
(12) An older adolescent should be provided with the necessary supports and skills in preparation for coping with life as a young adult.
(13) An adolescent should be assured a smooth transition to the adult mental health system for continuing age-appropriate treatment services.
(14) Community-based networks must educate people to recognize emotional disturbances in children and adolescents and provide information for obtaining access to appropriate treatment and support services.
(15) Mental health services for children and adolescents must be provided in a sensitive manner that is responsive to cultural and gender differences and special needs. Mental health services must be provided without regard to race, religion, national origin, gender, physical disability, or other characteristics.