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Service Coordination

Guides and Resources for Understanding Service Coordination

Service Coordination is a resource to help with the children or teens who are involved in multiple public systems, whose families have tried many options and are still struggling. Service Coordination is just what it sounds like it is – coordinating services – but also much more. It is a process for finding creative solutions for families in need, and connecting with other places and people in a family’s community to decide on close-to-home options. With strong, family-driven service coordination, a child can reduce the amount of time they spend as a client of a public system, and could increase their chances at successful, stable adulthood.

The idea behind Service Coordination is that by working together, agencies and families can reduce duplicated services, and possibly provide innovative, enhanced, or intensive services that are better for a child and family’s long-term health and well-being. Service Coordination also makes it easier to access services, since their family team is working together to make whatever referrals or linkages are necessary.

For public systems and their partners, major benefits of coordination can be saving time and money in the referral process, and eliminating the cost of duplicated or “double” services for families who may be enrolled in various programs. Often, systems also experience greater communication among their staff and partners, more flexibility in using funds to solve problems, and a higher level of family and client satisfaction with the services that are offered.

Cuyahoga County, through the Family & Children First Council, offers resources and guidance for successful service coordination. Many of those resources are housed on this webpage, for community members and public workers to access at their own convenience. Please review our “Resources for Everybody” section, and if you want deeper information, find a section that fits your role as a public worker, community partner, caregiver, or young person.

Resources for Everybody
Resources for Public Workers
Resources for Parents or Caregivers
Resources for Youth
Resources for Community Providers
Resources for Friends and Neighbors of Family Teams (Informal Supports)

To learn even more, contact Cuyahoga County’s Service Coordination Specialist, Denise Pietrzak, at (216) 443-6115.


Resources for Everybody

Definition of Service Coordination:

Service Coordination is a navigation process for systems and community providers to link families to necessary services and resources, using a family-driven, team approach.

Definition of the Service Coordination Team (SCT):

Liaisons from each public system serve on the Service Coordination Team (SCT). The team exists to help multi-need, multi-system children and their families access appropriate community services and to assure the effective coordination and delivery of services among systems for their best possible health and safety. This team works within the public systems to ensure families are not experiencing system barriers. SCT works with wrap teams to assist when children are in crisis and in need of a short term placement. These system liaisons are able to commit dollars on behalf of the systems they represent, and help monitor the child’s length of stay.

Service Coordiantion Mechanism Document

Service Coordination Mechanism for Cuyahoga County

This is the official document submitted to the State of Ohio to describe the Service Coordination process for Cuyahoga County.

Service Coordination Brochure

This is a general brochure that can be used with providers, families, or anyone else interested in learning about the benefits and goals of coordination. 

State of Ohio’s Service Coordination Toolkit


Resources for Public Workers

Who is a public worker?

The resources in this section are designed primarily for line workers and supervisors in Cuyahoga County public systems, like the Division of Children and Family Services, or the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.

Service Coordination Webinar

This six-part video presentation gives an overview of Service Coordination, details your responsibilities, and shares common scenarios that can lead to involving the Service Coordination Team liaisons. Watch in order, or skip to the part that is most relevant to you:



Part 1: Introduction and Definition of Service Coordination


Part 2: Liaisons: Who is on the Service Coordination Team? 


Part 3: Goals of Service Coordination


Part 4: Your Responsibilities


Part 5: When to Call the Service Coordination Team


Part 6: Additional Resources

The full presentation is also available as a pdf.


Useful Links:

Liaison Contact Information. For assistance, contact Cuyahoga County’s Service Coordination Specialist, Denise Pietrzak, at (216) 443-6115.

“Alphabet Soup”: Glossary of Acronyms

Guide to Child-Serving Systems

Solution Pathway Chart

Connecting to Schools: Directory of School Contacts

Service Coordination Mechanism for Cuyahoga County

Service Coordination: A Recipe for Success Presentation
This presentation by the Ohio Family & Children First Council describes the history and approach of Service Coordination in Ohio.

Poster series:
This series of posters directs providers to their system's Service Coordination liaison. These pieces are intended to support internal communications efforts.

Poster for schools

Poster for early education system

Poster for mental health and alcohol and other drug system 

Poster for developmental disabilities system

Poster for hospitals

Poster for supporters of parents and caregivers

Poster for inter-agency communication (any system)


Training video:

In less than 15 minutes, learn what the Service Coordination Team does, and when it is appropriate to access this resource for a child, on this free, immediate training video



Resources for Parents or Caregivers

Who is a parent or caregiver?


The resources in this section are designed primarily for heads or co-heads of households who are experiencing Service Coordination because their child or children are involved in a public system.


Useful Links:

“Alphabet Soup”: Glossary of Acronyms

Guide to Child-Serving Systems

Service Coordination Mechanism for Cuyahoga County

Ohio’s Service Coordination Guide for Families

Ohio’s Children’s Rights Guide



Resources for Youth

Who is a youth?


In the context of Service Coordination, a youth is any child or adolescent who is experiencing Service Coordination through any public system of Cuyahoga County (child welfare, juvenile justice, alcohol and drug, mental health, etc.). The youth also is called the “client.”


Useful Links:

Youth Pages
This teen-friendly booklet lists resources and contact information for programs across Cuyahoga County.

Ohio’s Children’s Rights Guide


Resources for Community Providers

Who is a community provider?


The resources in this section are designed primarily for staff of agencies or organizations that provide services to families.

Service Coordination Webinar

This six-part video presentation gives an overview of Service Coordination, details your responsibilities, and shares common scenarios that can lead to involving the Service Coordination Team liaisons. Watch in order, or skip to the part that is most relevant to you:



Part 1: Introduction and Definition of Service Coordination


Part 2: Liaisons: Who is on the Service Coordination Team? 


Part 3: Goals of Service Coordination


Part 4: Your Responsibilities


Part 5: When to Call the Service Coordination Team


Part 6: Additional Resources

The full presentation is also available as a pdf.

Useful Links:

Guide to Child-Serving Systems

Service Coordination Mechanism for Cuyahoga County

Office of Procurement and Diversity
Agencies or organizations wishing to do business with Cuyahoga County should be familiar with procurement procedures.


Poster series:
This series of posters directs providers to their system's Service Coordination liaison. These pieces are intended to support internal communications efforts.

Poster for schools

Poster for early education system

Poster for mental health and alcohol and other drug system 

Poster for developmental disabilities system

Poster for hospitals

Poster for supporters of parents and caregivers

Poster for inter-agency communication (any system)



Resources for Friends and Neighbors of Family Teams (Informal Supports)

Who is a friend or neighbor?


In the context of Service Coordination, a friend or neighbor is someone who is taking an active role in supporting a family that is currently experiencing Service Coordination through any public system of Cuyahoga County (child welfare, juvenile justice, alcohol and drug, mental health, etc.). These friends are often called “informal supports.” They are not offering a formal service through a neighborhood agency, but they do help the family team through tough times. Sometimes these friends actually attend family team meetings as well.

Useful Links:

Wraparound User’s Guide
This document was NOT developed specifically for Cuyahoga County, but it is a family-friendly resource for understanding how a family team might function. Page 23 includes a list of 10 principles that are good for any family supporter to read.

Guide to Child-Serving Systems

Service Coordination Mechanism for Cuyahoga County



For liaisons and members of the Service Coordination Team ONLY:
 Access the Service Coordination Team Database