While regional/community collaboratives may serve a number of purposes and have differing structures and membership, for the purposes of the work of MAST-NH, a regional/community collaborative is a partnership of individuals representing all roles relating to increasing community capacity to support children, youth, young adults and their families in their lives at home, in school and in their community. MAST-NH Regional/Community collaboratives may be specific to one town, school district or community or may serve multiple towns, school districts and communities within a region. The essential partners in a regional/community collaborative are the same: representatives of families, schools (including school and vocational rehabilitation services) , community mental health centers, DJJS and DCYF staff, area agency staff, and other community and organization representation particular to the community. Youth voice should also be representative in a regional/community collaborative and its work.
A MAST-NH regional/community collaborative is not an interagency committee comprised solely of school and human services professionals or a wraparound team.
In MAST-NH, we proposed that children with mental health needs and their families will have access to a fully engaged and functioning problem-solving, culturally and linguistically competent regional/community collaborative that includes essential mental health, juvenile justice, children and youth protective services, family support organizations, community-based supports and lay personnel. A regional/community collaborative: (a) uses community resource mapping to strategically identify regional needs and assets in order to create a plan for addressing gaps and assuring alignment, coordination and integration of supports and services, (b) creates specific protocols aimed at clarifying and communicating procedures and information between schools and mental health care providers, and (c) helps schools, families and individual student Wraparound teams address systemic barriers to accessing quality mental health care.
A regional/community collaborative is one essential feature in a full continuum of care and education. Regional/community collaboratives engage in shared work across agencies and partnerships for the purpose of improving access to education and community services for children with intensive-level support needs and their families.