The purpose of this chapter is to provide the reader with information concerning current definitions of the term Severe Emotional Disturbance, a brief history of public care provisions for children with Severe Emotional Disturbance, a historical review of the System of Care movement defining the model as a Best Practices Model of service delivery for children with Severe Emotional Disturbance, and an example case study utilizing a System of Care model. Also, the most common mental health conditions typically diagnosed in school-aged children are discussed. It is hoped that dialogue regarding students with the highest level of need, will provide the reader with a broad perspective on the mental system of care resources available for children and adolescents. Creative collaboration among involved—and other potential system of care members—can be tantamount in pursuit of effective mental health promotion provided that participants adhere to principals discussed previously in this text and avoid detrimental philosophy and intervention strategies such as coercive control techniques.
Keywords: Diagnosis, disorders, most in need, severe emotional disturbance (SED), system of care.