Authors Posts by Jim Sharp

Jim Sharp


On October 19, 2019 DHS and OMHSAS release the newly promulgated IBHS Regulations; Title 55, Chapters 1155 and 5240. The new regulations will be in full effect in 90 days.

This link to the DHS/Health Choices IBHS web page will be the repository for Information regarding IBHS and the ongoing implementation.

This site has access links to the IBHS Regulations, the IBHS Preamble, upcoming regional training information and registration, as well as important IBHS forms, including the IBHS FAQ link. Access the new IBHS Regulations here.

If you have any questions regarding the IBHS regulations, upcoming training, or feedback, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

The 2019 James E. Anderson Pennsylvania Conference on Juvenile Justice will be held from Wednesday, November 6 – Friday, November 8, in Harrisburg. This year, the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer/Service Provider Forum at the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission (JCJC) Conference will include a panel of judges, chiefs, and providers to discuss matters of mutual interest. Taking concerns into account, they want to ensure this is a planned, organized, and respectful event and are asking for any specific questions or topics you would like the facilitator to address. This will be an open discussion and they will take questions from the audience; however, the facilitator will be provided with topics so as not to identify those who may have a specific issue with the juvenile probation and/or the courts.

Use this link to sign in or create an account and register to attend. For any questions about this event, please contact Bob Tomassini or Andy Benner.

This is a great opportunity for identifying current issues and concerns, in a critical time in our juvenile justice system, to be respectfully discussed in a problem-solving environment. Topics for the forum can be emailed directly to Abigail Wilson.

If you have any further questions or feedback, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

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October 15, 2019

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Pennsylvania Awarded Grant to Support Access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Pennsylvania has been awarded a $1.3 million grant to increase access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by expanding state-based call centers.

The grant was issued by Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit administrator of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and provides confidential, free, 24/7 support to people in crisis, considering suicide, or helping another person.

“We have an obligation to provide resources and promote safe, supportive environments so people we serve know that there are places to turn if they are in crisis,” said Gov. Wolf. “Silence can perpetuate crisis and make people feel like they are struggling alone with no outlet or options for support, but things can and will get better, and help is always available. Expanding access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is one more way to let more people know help is available in Pennsylvania.”

The Department of Human Services will partner with three Lifeline network centers to form three regional call centers to ensure at least 70 percent of calls are answered in Pennsylvania, with the goal of increasing that percent to 90 within two years. Partners include Center for Community Resources, Family Services Association of Bucks County, and New Perspectives Crisis Services. In 2018, partners supported nearly 3,000 calls. As of June 2019, they have received nearly 2,500 calls.

“No one should ever feel like they are alone – especially in times of crisis,” said Secretary Miller. “The Wolf Administration is committed to dispelling stigma around suicide and mental health and ensuring supports are available to promote a safe, supportive environment so people know there are resources, like the Lifeline, to turn to in emergencies. Expanding our in-state call centers is another opportunity to better serve our fellow Pennsylvanians and prevent suicide across our commonwealth.”

Pennsylvania is committed to reversing the rising national trend of suicide and supporting Pennsylvanians affected by suicide. In May 2019, Governor Wolf established a statewide Suicide Prevention Task Force. The task force brings together leaders from the departments of Human Services, Health, Corrections, Aging, Education, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Transportation as well as the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Pennsylvania State Police, elected officials, and mental health and suicide prevention organizations to create a comprehensive suicide prevention plan for Pennsylvania.

The task force is holding public listening sessions through November to learn about how suicide impacts the lives of Pennsylvanians and to develop prevention efforts that reflect the diverse needs of individuals and families across Pennsylvania.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s Suicide Prevention Task Force and upcoming listening sessions, visit

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or is considering suicide, help is available. Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact Crisis Text Line by texting PA to 741-741.

MEDIA CONTACT:  J.J. Abbott, 717-783-1116

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Please find the details below regarding the application process for the upcoming Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Certification courses. These trainings are funded through a Federal SERG Grant; funds may also be used for trainings throughout the Commonwealth.


Pennsylvania has been awarded a Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Emergency Response Grant (SERG) as a response to the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue last fall. One component of the funding includes expansion of Mental Health First Aid across the Commonwealth. The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) will be hosting instructor certification courses to candidates interested in training in their region. Youth and Adult Certification Courses are three full days with a limit of 16 people per class.  Additional details are included below:

Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor Course
November 18, 19, and 20, 2019
8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor Course
December 10, 11, and 12, 2019
8:30 am – 5:00 pm

BHARP – Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania
301 Science Park Road | Suite 308 | State College, PA  16803

Registration:    Interested participants should contact Brandon Bennet by October 14, 2019.


  1. MHFA instructors must submit an application that will be reviewed by the National Council for acceptance.
  2. Once admitted, participants must attend three full days of training and pass a proficiency exam.
  3. Instructors are required to train a minimum of three times per year and log their courses and evaluations on the national website to maintain their certifications.
  4. In addition, participation in this free course includes the expectation to train at least one course to a target population in their area impacted by the Tree of Life tragedy. Course materials will be offered at no cost for these trainings.

The training application is available here.

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The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has released a report describing the essential community mental health services that must be expanded to divert people with significant psychiatric disabilities from the criminal justice system: Diversion to What? Evidence-Based Mental Health Services That Prevent Needless Incarceration.

Diversion to What? is designed to provide guidance to stakeholders engaged in efforts to reduce incarceration of people with psychiatric disabilities, laying out the types of services that should be the focus of such efforts. The report describes what those services do and how they are structured, and identifies the evidence demonstrating their success in reducing incarceration. The report is also available to download on the Bazelon Center’s website.

The Bazelon Center gratefully acknowledges the essential support for this report provided by the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge and the Ford Foundation.

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact RCPA Children’s and Criminal Justice Director Jim Sharp.

As a follow-up to the IBHS Implementation WebEx last week; RCPA wanted to provide an update and links to the documents sent out following the OMHSAS presentation. In the event you were unable to participate in the presentation, it is available on YouTube via this OMHSAS/IBHS resource page.

This website is where all OMHSAS IBHS materials will be posted going forward. In addition to the training video, RCPA is providing the links below to those documents that were reviewed during the training. Included in these documents are the Presentation PowerPoint, Licensing Applications, Training Schedules, EBT Lists, and the Service Description checklist, among other information. Please review all documents to ensure you are fully informed prior to your IBHS Regional Summit.

Please see the links below to the documents:

  1. IBHS Trainings-External 10-4-19 FINAL (FRIDAY’S WEBEX PRESENTATION)
  2. IBHS Initial Provider Outreach letter
  3. IBHS SD Checklist 7-19
  4. HS 633 electronic
  5. License Application Instructions – 9-2019
  6. IBHS Acronyms
  7. BH-MCO IBHS Contact and Counties Served
  8. Statewide County Administrators List
  9. Enrollment Handout
  10. Waiver Bulletin 2016
  11. OMHSAS IBHS Contact List
  12. Additional Regional Training Dates Flyer
  13. IBHS Approved EBT List 091719
  • Any regulatory questions should be sent to the IBHS resource account for clarification.
  • For all licensing questions, please use the OMHSAS IBHS Contact List of regional field offices and direct your questions to those appropriate regional staff.

If you have any further questions or feedback, please contact the RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

On October 1, 2019, the PROMISe Service Location Enrollment process was effectuated. RCPA understands that many providers have submitted their requests and are awaiting the PROMISe numbers for their programs.

In conversations with the Office of Medical Assistance Programs (OMAP) and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), we have been advised that as providers await confirmation on program PROMISe numbers for service locations, providers can continue to utilize their main physical site address for billing pending site enrollment.

This link will provide access to the bulletin. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

The Bureau of Family Health is holding meetings to collect input on the potential priorities that will guide which issues Pennsylvania’s Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Block Grant programs will address over the next five years. The meetings will be in Norristown on October 8 and in Harrisburg on October 18, both at 4:00 pm.

Please see the below attachments for site specific information:

If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

Speaker at Business convention and Presentation. Audience at the conference hall.

The Office of Children, Youth and Families is pleased to announce the following upcoming training opportunity for staff who complete Title IV-E eligibility or reimbursability determinations for children and youth in placement:

Accurate Title IV-E eligibility and reimbursability determinations are key to claiming Title IV-E foster care placement maintenance and administrative funds appropriately. Over the last two years, there has been extensive turnover in the staff who complete the Title IV-E eligibility/reimbursability determinations and invoicing for the Title IV-E Foster Care program. Accordingly, we’re offering training that will support staff’s understanding of Title IV-E eligibility and reimbursability criteria. Learning will be supported through practical application.

The training will be held at five different locations throughout the Commonwealth, on five separate days, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, as listed below.

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2019 – Cumberland County, Child Welfare Resource Center
  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 – Allegheny County, Mon-Valley Regional Office
  • Thursday, October 24, 2019 – Lackawanna County, Lackawanna Children’s Services
  • Friday, October 25, 2019 – Mercer County, George Junior Republic
  • Tuesday, October 29, 2019 – Montgomery County, Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth

Parking at each location is $5.00 or less. A lunch break of one hour is built into the schedule, but lunch is not provided.

When deciding who should attend, please keep in mind that this training will be focused on the eligibility and reimbursability determinations for the Title IV-E Foster Care program. We will touch on completion of the eligibility determination forms during the practical application, but this is not the focus of the training. This training will not cover Title IV-E eligibility determinations for Adoption Assistance and Subsidized Permanent Legal Custodianship, completion of Title IV-E invoices, or details regarding completion of the Title IV-E Administrative cost pool, Random Moment Time Study case counts, or Administration for Children and Families child counts.

To register for this training, please use this email and include:

  • Your name;
  • Name of the training;
  • Location you would prefer to attend;
  • County and agency that you work for;
  • Position title; and
  • What part of Title IV-E your job focuses on (for example – eligibility determinations, claiming, etc.).

Seating is limited and priority will be given to staff from counties with low compliance rates in recent Title IV-E quality assurance reviews and/or a high amount of turnover with their eligibility determination and claiming staff. We recognize that you may be unable to attend a session near you or simply unable to participate at this time, so we will be hosting another round of trainings early next year. If you have any further questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

Available here is the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) Bulletin 3130-19-04 entitled, “Serving Child Victims of Human Trafficking (CVHT) in Pennsylvania.” The purpose of this bulletin is to inform county and state officials; public and private children, youth, and family service agencies; children’s advocacy programs; community-based domestic violence programs; rape crisis centers; and stakeholders of the federal and state statutory requirements, to ensure a multidimensional and interdisciplinary plan and approach to the identification, protection, and provision of comprehensive and coordinated services for child victims of human trafficking. This bulletin has a number of attachments, including the “Practice Guide to Serving CVHT in Pennsylvania,” which provides detailed information related to Commercial Sex Trafficking of Children, Standards of Practice for Serving CVHT, Children Who are Missing From Out-Of-Home Placement Settings, Collaboration, and Advocacy and Legal Considerations.

Questions regarding this bulletin should be directed to your OCYF Regional Office. You may also reach out to Ms. Treasure Gallagher, Human Services Program Specialist in OCYF’s Bureau of Policy, Program and Operations. If you have any further questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.