The term multi-system youth (or MSY) can be challenging because it is used in many different situations, to address a variety of experiences.
It appeared in headlines frequently during Ohio’s last biennium budget process, as new funding was announced to support these young people.
In Ohio’s developmental disabilities system, the term has been typically used to describe a child or teen (typically age 10-18) with a DD diagnosis who has complex needs that extend beyond the services and supports offered by their county board.
These needs often require additional agencies and resources to provide “wrap-around services” for a family. These additional layers of supports can come from a variety of sources, including a local school district, a Mental Health and Recovery Board, Job and Family Services or the juvenile justice system.
When children and teens are identified as having complex needs, the Licking County Children and Families First Council takes the lead in their case management, assembling a team — which includes LCBDD staff members — to come alongside their families and help them find the resources they need.
In the past few years the number of children under 10 with complex, multi-system needs has also been increasing in Licking County. CFFC’s Early Childhood Clinical Committee works with the families of these younger children
Multi-system youth is often used broadly to describe young people in our system who need complex support. But each situation is considered individually, using a person-centered approach, to truly address the needs of each family. What works for one child, might not be the right fit for another.