PRAISE FOR A VIEW FROM THE BALCONY: Leadership Challenges in Systems of Care

A View from the Balcony: Leadership Challenges in Systems of Care is a highly readable, insightful and instructive journey through a momentous time of change in children’s mental health. This book provides professionals and parents involved in system of care efforts with learnings gained from a unique perspective and leadership role in systems of care. In Vermont, this involved leading one of the first efforts in the country to create a statewide community-based system of services and supports for children with serious emotional disturbance and their families. At the federal level, this meant overseeing and expanding a national initiative that eventually grew to a $100 million program of grants and technical assistance aimed at developing community-based systems of care. Years of state and federal leadership throughout this crucial period of development in children’s mental health provided vital lessons about leadership and the dynamic relationship between community efforts and state and federal policy that will help guide and sustain others taking on the risks and the responsibilities of system change efforts.

This book deals with the key issues facing those working to plan and implement cross-agency system change efforts in general, and specifically the "system of care" model for serving children with serious emotional disturbance and their families. The importance of attending to the complex interplay among the various parties involved in system of care efforts is a cross-cutting theme that makes this volume a source of unique insight into leading effective systems change. The specific topics addressed in A View from the Balcony: Leadership Challenges in Systems of Care are as follows:

  • Building a Foundation for Systems of Care – A guide to understanding the ingredients that communities embarking on system of care development need to consider to maximize the effectiveness of strategic planning and implementation.
  • The Vermont Experience – A case study of Vermont’s successful system of care design and implementation process, seen through the eyes of the effort’s leader.
  • The Navajo Story – A personal narrative of the author’s visit to the Navajo Nation that demonstrates how the tribe creates community to support its children and families, drawing on age-old values and practices.
  • Parent/Professional Partnerships – A clear-eyed discussion that underscores the vital role of parent organizations in all aspects of systems of care, while offering real-life lessons on avoiding the conflicts and dysfunction that characterize poorly-planned parent/professional collaborative efforts.
  • The Role of Leadership in Systems of Care – An examination of the theory and practice of effective leadership in systems of care, focusing on key issues facing leaders in an environment of change, illustrated with examples from system-building efforts across the country.
  • Listening and Acting – An example from the author’s city council experience of how leaders’ listening and acting can make a real difference in a community, followed by an explanation of what “community” means in the context of children’s mental health and creating responsive systems at the local, state and federal level.
  • Lessons Learned – A concluding chapter sharing learnings based on the author’s 18 years devoted to designing, building and administering systems of care. The lessons are of both a professional and personal nature, reflecting the author’s belief that an effective leader must attend to both kinds of issues to maintain both a healthy organization and personal wellbeing.

Gary De Carolis skillfully blends his wide ranging personal history with conceptual understandings of the idea of leadership in complex environments. His passion for the people he has served comes through clearly in the context of the complexities of governmental policy and human nature in our communities. This was a treat to read and will be helpful, particularly to younger administrators, who are looking for ways to be more effective leaders on behalf of the people they serve.

Gary De Carolis’s clear and conversational down-home approach to leadership and all of its aspects . . . gently pulls the reader to a good place.

—Cornelius Hogan, Previous Secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Human Services and coauthor of At the Crossroads: The Future of Health Care in Vermont

This book, particularly the “lessons learned” chapter, is an important and critical resource for those states, tribes, and communities that are building systems of care for those who often do not have a voice—our children.

—Ethleen Iron Cloud-Two Dogs, Project Director, Nagi Kicopi (Calling the Spirit Back), Wakanyeja Pawicayapi, Inc. (The Children First)

This is a very honest look at the hard work and leadership that it takes to do systems change work, especially for parents and families. It also shows that it is all worth it!

—TJ Rosenberg, parent advocate, Las Vegas, NV

This much-needed book provides a unique historical perspective of the system of care movement. In it, De Carolis provides a powerful road map for community organizers who are collaborating to improve the lives of youth with emotional-behavioral disorders and their families. Leaders, case managers, and families in every community that is moving forward to coordinate children’s mental health services will be inspired to see the potential in every child and informed in ways that will enhance their own system of care. This book is must reading for anyone considering how to develop a new system of care and for established collaborative members who want to renew their commitment to coordinated, meaningful care for their children.

—Michael Furlong, PhD, Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

PLEASE NOTE: A View from the Balcony can be ordered; simply click on the button for your country below to proceed! Shipping for US Customers is $5.00 for the first book and $1.00 for each additional book. For Canadian Customers, shipping is $8.00 CAN for the first book and $1.00 CAN for each additional book. Residents of Texas will be charged sales tax. For customers who would like to pay by check; make checks payable to Center for Community Leadership, P.O. Box 3069, Burlington, VT 05408-3069. The above shipping charges apply.


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