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Coordinating Systems and Services

Ohio Family and Children First (OFCF) Cabinet Council and County Family and Children First Councils (FCFC) have a unique responsibility of Coordinating Systems and Services on both a macro and micro level. FCFCs streamline and coordinate existing government services for families seeking services for their children (micro). FCFCs also annually evaluate and prioritize services, fill service gaps where possible, and invent new approaches to achieve better results for families and children (macro).

Family and Children First Council Service Coordination is not affiliated with any single system, but the results of service coordination impact family and community outcomes across all systems through a collaborative, coordinated, cross-system approach. The individual family service coordination process is family focused and strengths based. FCFC service coordination provides the venue for families with multiple and complex problems to effectively address their needs through a process that creates a unique intervention/ treatment environment which eliminates duplication and provides both traditional services and builds natural supports.

An effective practice model has been developed for Coordinating Systems and Services, one for the Macro level and another for the Micro Level.



During the Celeste administration, the governor created Clusters where county level treatment/clinical teams were formed to collaborate across systems to meet the needs of multi-system involved children. The teams often consisted of clinical level cross-system personnel from the different agencies involved with the child. They would formulate a treatment plan for the child and determine how/who would pay for the costs of the treatment. Focus was on the family problems. Parents/children were often not involved in the development of treatment plans.

The State Intersystems Cluster Fund was created to assist counties, when requested, to assist in funding services/placements for children that the county was unable to provide. The application packet required for requesting these funds was extremely cumbersome to complete.


Voinovich administration put into law the requirements of service coordination as part of the responsibilities of the newly created Family and Children First Councils. Service Coordination Mechanisms were mandated to include a process for assessing the needs of the child and a process for developing the individual family plan. A cross- system approach was required. A dispute resolution process was also required to be part of the Mechanism. The State Intersystems Fund application process was greatly simplified and more counties began to request funding to assist with providing services/placements for the children with the most severe problems. The use of service coordination was a requirement to access these funds.


During the Taft administration the law was revised to require that the service coordination mechanisms include services for alleged unruly and a method to divert children from the juvenile court system and placed emphasis on children who are at risk of being unruly and adjudicated to be unruly.

Additional changes made during the Taft administration included language that required families to have access to the referral and dispute resolution processes for service coordination, added language requiring a strengths and needs assessment of the family and increased family engagement and empowerment during the process. At this time, language was added to more closely align with many of the established principles of the Wraparound Process. Another important addition was the requirement that a family has the right to request and be provided with a family advocate. Emergency and non-emergency out- of -home placements required family team meetings to be held within specific time periods.


During the Strickland administration, county FCFCs were required to revise their local Service Coordination Mechanism and ensure at least compliance with the law.  87 of the 88 counties in Ohio have an approved Service Coordination Mechanism which can be found under each county's contact information.  In addition, the state's Family-Centered Services and Supports (FCSS) initiative was connected to FCFC service coordination which offers funding for non-clinical services and supports, including service coordination, for families and their children. 


This work continues under the Dewine Administration today.  Beginning in July 2019, Governor Dewine dedicated funding of $18 million, across two years, to address the needs of multi-system youth (MSY). MSY are children and teenagers with complex developmental and behavioral health needs that cannot be met by a single state or local agency.  More information on MSY funding can be found here.

For more information about FCSS, click here.

Service Coordination Mechanism

Each county is required to have a Service Coordination Mechanism. The Service Coordination Mechanism must incorporate certain provisions found in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 121.37 (C)(D) and 121.38. The OFCF Service Coordination Mechanism Guidance provides an explanation of and helpful suggestions for developing the county Service Coordination Mechanism.

The OFCF Service Coordination Mechanism Guidance has been updated to include new fiscal rules associated with the Family-Centered Services and Supports (FCSS) funds.  Each county FCFC was required to update their Service Coordination Mechanism and assure all required components are in place.  Below is the updated OFCF Service Coordination Mechanism Guidance; memo to the county explaining the need for such an update; and several attachments in form format.

Service Coordination State Committee

The OFCF Service Coordination State Committee will provide administrative reviews of referrals from county FCFCs or a family when a child/family involved in the FCFC service coordination process has needs that the council, through the service coordination process, is unable to meet; or when the individual family team is unsure about how to address the needs of the child or family.

The Service Coordination State Committee will also review unresolved local service coordination disputes, if the administrative review is requested prior to using the juvenile court as final arbitrator of the dispute.

Click on the below links to learn more about the OFCF Service Coordination Committee purpose and process; the Committee's Individualized Family Service Coordination Administrative Review; and/or the Dispute Resolution Administrative Review.