Strategic Plan & Priorities

Illinois became a nationwide leader in recognizing the importance of mental health to children’s overall health, well-being and academic success when the General Assembly passed the Children’s Mental Health (CMH) Act of 2003. With its passage, Illinois made a clear and critical commitment to children’s mental health and to the need for reforming an existing mental health system that was highly fragmented, under-resourced, and inadequately coordinated to meet the needs of Illinois children and their families.

The CMH Act created the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP) and charged it with developing a Children’s Mental Health Plan, a strategic roadmap containing short-term and long-term recommendations for providing comprehensive, coordinated mental health prevention, early intervention, and treatment services for children from birth to age 18. The Plan embodies the collective vision and tireless work of over 250 individuals representing children and youth, families, policymakers, advocates, professionals, clinicians, and key systems.

View ICMHP Strategic Plan


Strategic Priorities

  • Increase public awareness and understanding of: the social and emotional development and mental health of children and adolescents; the need to invest in prevention, promotion, early intervention, and treatment; and the link between mental health, physical health, and substance abuse.
  • Promote community collaborations and culturally inclusive partnerships to develop and implement plans that address prevention, promotion, early intervention, and treatment for the mental health of children, youth, and families.
  • Increase mental health promotion, prevention, early intervention, and treatment services and supports for children and adolescents based on developmental needs with a particular emphasis on risk factors and unique population-based concerns.
  • Promote ongoing family/consumer and youth involvement in administrative, policymaking and resource decisions regarding the Illinois children’s mental health system at the state, regional, and local level.
  • Advocate with and educate a broad range of stakeholders and policymakers to promote and increase children’s mental health services, improved public policies, and expanded programs.
  • Identify, promote and/or develop sustainable mental health consultation initiatives that educate, support, and assist providers across key child-serving systems to develop essential core competencies.
  • Promote and institutionalize effective social and emotional learning, mental health support services, and risk factor reduction strategies for children with an emphasis on ages 0-5; and support the efforts of the Illinois State Board of Education and other key education stakeholders to advance the knowledge and skills essential to implementing evidence based programs and practices which promote the necessary conditions for learning.
  • Develop and implement strategies for improving financing, cost-effectiveness, information sharing, and access to residential services and alternative community services; and provide information to inform decision making, where appropriate.
  • Promote evidence-informed best practice models and technical assistance on children’s mental health across the developmental spectrum including areas such as cultural competence, family involvement, and consumer-driven care.
  • Develop and continue to implement strategies that educate, broaden and sustain a workforce that provides quality and comprehensive social and emotional supports and mental health services for children.
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