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System of Care for Children's Behavioral Health: Implementation from a Networked Perspective
AuthorManit, Jill M.
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Governance models influence the approach public service organizations take when implementing programs, policies and practices. The networked model of governance supports the involvement of multiple actors who span organizational boundaries and roles to implement solutions to address complex social problems. This study examines the implementation of a statewide System of Care for children’s mental health from a networked governance perspective. System of Care is an evidence-based framework that aims to coordinate services in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way and places youth and families at the center of decision making on their care as well as in the design of the system. This descriptive study examines the extent to which the effort to implement a statewide System of Care resembles a networked governance perspective and describes the patterns of relationships that comprise the structure of the network.The study employs a mixed-method approach to identify actors in the network and to describe their patterns of interactions across four network relations. Archival data are collected to first identify the actors in the network (N=107). An “affiliation network” and a “name roster” are constructed for the second phase of the research, a survey of network members. The survey yielded a 53% response rate.Multi-level network analysis techniques are employed to identify and describe the patterns of relationships in the network. Four network relations are the focus of the study: operations (i.e. working together on the implementation), sharing information, sharing resources and trust. The data are analyzed at the individual actor level to identify those actors who are most central in the network, at the dyadic level to describe any connections between two actors, at the triadic level to identify the types of relations between three actors and at the whole network level. The data are analyzed using UCINET, Pajek and Excel software programs to run the appropriate analyses at multiple levels. Additionally, UCINET’s NetDraw program is utilized to generate visual depictions of the network including a distinction of the central actors.The findings reveal the network is operating under to two network model types; shared-governance and lead organization. For the shared-governance model, the network is moderately dense for the network relations of operations and sharing information. It becomes sparser and more centralized under the lead organization model for the network relations of sharing resources and trust. The network also has a “team” of central actors consisting of a parent, caregiver, professional staff and administrator. This team maintained high centrality scores across all four of the measured network relations. This study supports the utility of the networked governance perspective in public policy implementation for describing how a network structure can shape opportunities and constraints associated with public policy implementation. However, further analysis is needed. The paper concludes with recommendations for further study of the multiple sub-structures that can be found in a network and the impact the structural configurations can have on achieving public policy and administration goals.