Individuals living in the Texas Panhandle face unique challenges related to mental health care. Young people and their families face stigma, poverty, geographic isolation, and insufficient access to care, which hinder their ability to reach out and receive effective mental health services and supports. The Panhandle-Plains Partnership for Children and Families is part of a collaborative effort to expand and improve the systems of care approach in a 30 county region of the Texas Panhandle.

Deborah Cohen, researcher associate at the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health is leading the evaluation of this project, which serves young people ages 13-21 facing mental health and substance use issues. The evaluation will focus on the use of cross system collaborations to reduce out of home placements, child relinquishments to the foster care system, and the cost to the county for out-of-home care. An additional study will focus on the feasibility of youth, parent, and peer support

This project will significantly impact the lives of many young people and their families that are struggling with mental health and substance use problems. The information provided by the evaluation will work to enhance quality of care and inform the future direction of mental health care service systems in the Texas Panhandle area.