Background

Many quality social services are available to residents of California's communities. But due to the fragmented way programs are funded, there is all too often little coordination among programs. Accessing services effectively and on a timely basis can be an extremely difficult task for the general public.

Many of the problems associated with the fragmentation of services are information issues. Not only are consumers in the dark about available services, but often the agencies themselves don't know all of the services available for their clients because no information system has connected agencies to each other. Furthermore, the general public is largely unaware of important related information on topics such as specific disorders, early intervention, prevention, independent living, and advocacy.

The corporate community has for some time now been addressing similar information problems using a variety of Internet solutions. Until now, Web technology has been scarce in diverse, fragmented public systems such as those serving the elderly, people with disabilities, kids at risk, and people with mental illness. However, a revolution is taking place in the public's use of the Internet. Today, an astonishing 60 percent of the public uses the Internet as its primary source of health information - and the number is growing. A way to connect the vast, extensive, easily accessible, nearly universal phenomenon of the Internet to the health and social service needs of the local community is sorely needed.

Trilogy bridged this gap. The Network of Care Web Project is a state/county, public/private partnership that was born of a State of California innovation grant in early 2001. Network of Care (www.networkofcare.org) is a single place for consumers, caregivers and case managers to gain knowledge; quickly find and coordinate community services; store important information, and advocate to policymakers.

Trilogy Integrated Resources worked with Alameda and Sacramento counties to launch the Network of Care for Seniors & People with Disabilities in August 2001, and since then, the sites have rapidly expanded.

The California Department of Mental Health sought to replicate the highly successful Network of Care for Seniors & People with Disabilities with a similar online community for behavioral health services. It chose San Diego County as its inaugural site. The Network of Care for Mental/Behavioral Health now serves counties in many states, including the entire states of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Hawai'i, Nebraska and Montana. The Network of Care for Kids (ages 0-5) was launched in multiple counties in 2003. The Network of Care for Children, Youth & Families (ages 0-18) was launched in California and Ohio in 2004. The Network of Care for Developmental Disabilities and Network of Care for Domestic Violence were launched in 2005. The Network of Care for Public Health Assessment and Wellness and the Network of Care for Probation Services were introduced in 2008. The Network of Care for Service Members, Veterans & Their Families was launched in 2009.

 
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