Children's Services

RCPA is pleased to announce the hiring of James (Jim) Sharp as the new director for its Children’s Division. Jim brings 30 years of systems expertise to RCPA; most recently working for Merakey in several key positions, including Executive Director of Operations for Pennsylvania, Delaware, & Maryland; Executive Director of Behavioral Services and Development; and as the Regional Executive Director for NHS Northwestern Academy. Prior to his work at Merakey, Jim served as the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer at the Philadelphia Family Court Juvenile Probation, the nation’s fourth largest juvenile probation department. In his tenure as Chief P.O., he aided in the implementation of national and statewide models for violence prevention, aftercare reintegration, and juvenile drug and graduated sanctions courts.

Jim began his career as a juvenile probation officer in Montgomery County before joining George Junior Republic as Court Liaison and Admissions Director.

In addition to his bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s University, he holds a Master of Administration, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Shippensburg University.

Jim will begin in this position on May 13. Please join us in welcoming Jim to RCPA!

National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and promotes the social and emotional well-being of children and families.

During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness and provide education and support to families, through resources and strategies, to prevent child abuse and neglect. Each year, the White House and many states issue proclamations to raise awareness and encourage communities to take steps towards improving the well-being of children. To learn more about significant moments in child abuse prevention, browse the NCAPM timeline.

Be sure to share your child abuse prevention programs and activities on social media, and feel free to share on the RCPA Facebook page and Twitter feed as well.

2019 marks the official 18th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) — but did you know we can trace its history even further back?

Even before its official declaration, SAAM was about both awareness and prevention of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. Looking at the history of the movement to end sexual violence, it’s clear why: it’s impossible to prevent an issue no one knows about, and it’s difficult to make people aware of a problem without providing a solution. The two work in tandem, and they always have. From the civil rights movement to the founding of the first rape crisis centers to national legislation and beyond, the roots of SAAM run deep.

Roots of the Movement
As long as there have been people who care about making the world a better place, there have been individuals advocating for sexual assault prevention. In the United States, movements for social change and equality began to gain traction in the 1940s and 50s with the civil rights era. Although open discussion of the realities of sexual assault and domestic violence were limited at these times, activists for equal rights began to challenge the status quo.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is about more than awareness — the ultimate goal is prevention. Since consent is a clear, concrete example of what it takes to end sexual harassment, abuse, and assault, this year’s theme centers on empowering all of us to put consent into practice. The campaign theme, I Ask, champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.

Sexual assault is a serious and widespread problem. Nearly one in five women in the US have experienced rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives, and one in 67 American men have experienced rape or attempted rape. When we talk about prevention, we mean stopping sexual violence before it even has a chance to happen. This means changing the social norms that allow it to exist in the first place, from individual attitudes, values, and behaviors to laws, institutions, and widespread social norms. Prevention is everyone’s responsibility: All of us can create and promote safe environments. We can intervene to stop concerning behavior, promote and model healthy attitudes and relationships, and believe survivors and assist them in finding resources.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence. NSVRC translates research and trends into best practices that help individuals, communities, and service providers achieve real and lasting change. The center also works with the media to promote informed reporting. Every April, NSVRC leads Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a campaign to educate and engage the public in addressing this widespread issue.

Be sure to share your sexual assault awareness programs and activities on social media, and feel free to share on the RCPA Facebook page and Twitter feed as well.


Call for Change Project
In 2004, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ (OMHSAS) Advisory Committee formed a Recovery Work Group, tasked to explore how to transition the adult mental health system in Pennsylvania into a more recovery-oriented approach. The Recovery Work Group was convened, by invitation, to discuss the process of developing a blueprint for building a recovery-oriented service system in Pennsylvania. This collaboration of broad-based stakeholders resulted in A Call for Change, a document that would outline a destination for Systems Transformation and provide guidance on strategies for how to get there.

Because A Call for Change focused on transforming the adult-serving behavioral health system, in 2010, the OMHSAS Children’s Bureau proceeded with developing a document to guide transformation of the child-serving system to one that promotes resiliency for children, youth, and their families.  A Call for Change: Transformation of the Children’s Behavioral Health System in Pennsylvania was drafted as a strategic plan, identifying an ideal array of services, goals, and prioritized action steps to achieve systems change.

Several years have passed since these documents were developed.  In the Fall of 2018, the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council challenged OMHSAS to re-visit A Call for Change, to assess how far Pennsylvania’s  behavioral health system that serves children, youth, and their families, as well as adults and older adults, has progressed with transformation, and to identify priorities for future efforts. OMHSAS agreed to support the assessment of progress and the issuance of A Call for Change, 2019. 

The assessment phase will include regional on-site listening sessions, intended to generate broad-based stakeholder input and dialogue.  Information will be provided on the OMHSAS Listserv as soon as details for the in person listening sessions are available. In addition, OMHSAS is posting an online survey to obtain input from stakeholders who are unable to attend a session.

Any questions or comments related to the Call for Change Project can be directed to this email.

Registration, directions, and required documentation are below

Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs (JDCAP) and the ALICE Training Institute have teamed up to bring ALICE Instructor Training to Consumer Service Professionals and County Agencies at the County Commissioners Association of PA (CCAP) office on September 3-4, 2019. This two-day instructor course is designed to teach proactive survival strategies for violent intruder or active shooter incidents. The goal of the ALICE program is to provide individuals with survival-enhancing options for those critical moments in the gap between when a violent situation begins and when law enforcement arrives on scene.

ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate and is a useful strategy for everyone: law enforcement, schools, universities, hospitals, businesses, and places of worship. Completing the ALICE Instructor Training course provides individuals with certification in ALICE Training and allows them the opportunity to bring ALICE strategies back to their places of work. Additionally, registrants will gain access to exclusive ALICE resources. ALICE is in line with recommendations from the US Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

About ALICE Training Institute
The ALICE Training Institute is changing how schools, universities, and businesses respond to armed intruders. ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate), developed after Columbine, teaches strategies to survive a life-threatening event. Supported by educators and law enforcement across the country, ALICE is quickly becoming the new standard of care.

Registration Flyer   |   Waiver Release

You are invited to participate in the development of a new Early Intervention Family Survey. Early Intervention (EI) administrative staff, service coordinators, therapists, teachers, and families are being invited to participate in one of the sessions. Please share this information widely with fellow EI stakeholders, including family members. Also, feel free to forward this email and/or this flyer.

Below, please find a list of one-hour sessions through the online meeting platform Zoom. To access Zoom, you will need an internet connected device (desktop computer, laptop, smart phone, tablet). You can connect to audio by phone or through your internet connected device.

Please join ONE of the sessions:

March 11:
9:00 am – 10:00 am
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

March 13:
10:00 am –11:00 am
12:00 pm –1:00 pm
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

March 14:
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

No registration necessary; use the link below to join on the date/time (from those listed above) that works for you.

To see the discussion materials, join from your computer by using this link:

To hear the discussion, join using your computer or by calling the number below:

+1 877 369 0926 (US Toll Free)
+1 877 853 5247 (US Toll Free)
Meeting ID: 638 102 1552

Questions, please contact:

Sarah Holland
Special Assistant for Family Engagement
Departments of Education and Human Services
Office of Child Development and Early Learning

The Department of Health (DOH) published final-form sexual assault victim emergency services regulations January 26, 2008 and amended 28 Pa. Code Part IV, Subpart B (relating to general and special hospitals) to add specific requirements for hospitals relating to the provision of sexual assault emergency services.

Hospitals that decide they may not provide emergency contraception due to a stated religious or moral belief contrary to providing this medication are required to give notice to the DOH of the decision. Hospitals that refer all emergency patients to other hospitals after institution of essential life-saving measures and decide not to provide any sexual assault emergency services are required to give notice to the DOH of the decision, and the DOH must annually publish the lists of hospitals in the Pennsylvania Bulletin that have chosen not to provide emergency contraception under 28 Pa. Code § 117.57 or any sexual assault emergency services under 28 Pa. Code § 117.58. The following lists were published on Saturday, February 23, 2019 in accordance with those provisions and do not create any new obligations for hospitals or relieve hospitals of any existing obligations.

The following list of hospitals have provided notice to the DOH that the hospital may not provide emergency contraception due to a stated religious or moral belief:

Hospital Name City, Zip Code
Holy Spirit Hospital Camp Hill, 17011
Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital Jersey Shore, 17740
Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Darby, 19023
Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Philadelphia, 19143
Suburban Community Hospital East Norriton, 19401
Millcreek Community Hospital Erie, 16509
Muncy Valley Hospital Muncy, 17756
Nazareth Hospital Philadelphia, 19152
Physicians Care Surgical Hospital Royersford, 19468
Regional Hospital of Scranton Scranton, 18501
Sacred Heart Hospital Allentown, 18102
St. Joseph Medical Center Reading, 19603
St. Mary Medical Center Langhorne, 19047
UPMC Mercy Pittsburgh, 15219
Williamsport Regional Medical Center Williamsport, 17701


The following list of hospitals have provided notice to the DOH that the hospital may not provide any sexual assault emergency services due to the limited services provided by the hospital:

Hospital Name City, Zip Code
Allied Services Institute of Rehabilitation—Scranton Scranton, 18501
John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine—
Wilkes-Barre Township, 18702
Kindred Hospital South Philadelphia Philadelphia, 19145
OSS Health York, 17402
Physicians Care Surgical Hospital Royersford, 19468
Rothman Orthopedic Specialty Hospital Bensalem, 19020


Additional information regarding the sexual assault victim emergency services regulations and emergency contraception, and an up-to-date list of hospitals not providing emergency contraception under 28 Pa. Code § 117.57 or not providing any sexual assault emergency services under 28 Pa. Code § 117.58, is available on the Department’s website.