Zfive operates within the “System of Care” philosophy. Mecklenburg County is building a System of Care as a best practice approach to serving children and their families. “System of Care” (SOC) is a nationally-recognized framework for organizing and coordinating services and resources into a comprehensive and interconnected network. Its goal is to work in partnership with individuals and families who need services or resources from multiple human service agencies so that they will be safe and successful at home, in school, and in the community.

SOC is not a program or a service – it’s an approach that honors families as equal partners in the care of their children, and uses individualized, strengths-based, team-based, collaborative methods to promote the full potential of children and youth by addressing their physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and social needs. MeckCARES is the name of our county’s SOC. MeckCARES, funded in part by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. DHHS, focuses primarily, at this time, on youth 10-21 with mental health issues and their families – but SOC philosophy applies to all ages. For more information about MeckCARES, visit