Children's Services

The National Council Conference will be held Mon–Wed, April 23–25, 2018, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Washington, DC. This event is the health care industry’s foremost behavioral health conference. Each year, more than 5,000 leaders like you explore health care’s greatest innovations in practice improvement, financing, integrated health care, technology, policy and advocacy, and professional development at the National Council Conference. Pennsylvania is consistently among the most well represented groups from around the country.

Please register before Friday, December 1, 2017, to take advantage of a special preview rate. RCPA members are offered a more deeply discounted registration; please use the coupon code 18memberPA for an additional $225 in savings. Contact Richard Edley with any additional questions.

The ABFT training originally scheduled for November 15, December 5, and December 6 has been rescheduled.


We want to thank the providers who expressed an interest. Registration fees will be refunded unless you specify otherwise. For instance, if you wish to retain your registration status and keep your spot reserved, to determine if the newly scheduled dates work for you and/or your clinical staff, we could place the registration fees “ON HOLD” for you.

We have been consulting with the model developers at Drexel University and our partners at OMHSAS Children’s Bureau to update the plan for making this a successful training. We have negotiated reduced fees for the total training package in hopes of attracting more trainees.

The clinical strategies of ABFT can be utilized in various child serving programs to include schools, outpatient clinics, and residential treatment programs. It is designed to treat depression and prevent suicide among adolescents and young adults, ages 14–24.

Download the updated registration brochure here. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Robena Spangler.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers 14 self-paced online business courses to behavioral health organizations and providers through BHbusiness. The courses are available at no cost and participants can earn continuing education credits at their own pace.

New courses include Value-Based Purchasing and Bundled Payments. Other course offerings include:

  • Data-Driven Decision Making;
  • New Business Planning;
  • Assessing Your Readiness in Integrating Primary Care;
  • Costing Out Your Services;
  • Effectively Marketing Your Services;
  • Exploring Affiliations and Mergers;
  • Improving Your Third Party Billing System;
  • Planning For the Next Generation of HIT (Health Information Technology);
  • State Assessment on Sustaining SUD Service for Safety Net Populations;
  • Strategic Business Decision Making;
  • Third Party Contract Negotiations; and
  • Eligibility and Enrollment: The ACA, Insurance Eligibility, and Your Business.

The link to the registration page can be found here.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” — Brené Brown

Register for NatCon18 – the National Council Conference – to experience the dynamic Brené Brown and her life-affirming message. Dr. Brown challenges us to view vulnerability in a new way – as a source of courage.

More than 30 million people have viewed her life-changing TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, and she has written four New York Times #1 best-sellers based on her 16 years of research on courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy.

You can expect the most provocative and relevant speakers and educational offerings in behavioral health at NatCon18. More than 5,000 attendees expect the very best – and they get it.

Register today for NatCon18 and remember to take advantage of the RCPA Member Discount!

Overdose deaths from heroin and prescription drug abuse pose a public health crisis. In 2016, 4,642 drug-related overdose deaths were reported in Pennsylvania – an increase of 37 percent from 2015 – and every day 13 Pennsylvanians die of a drug overdose.

Yesterday, President Trump officially declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. This declaration will allow states to redirect federal funds to the opioid crisis. However, it provides no new federal funding. RCPA was pleased to learn that President Trump proposed relaxing the Institutions of Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion for inpatient substance use disorder treatment. The IMD exclusion, which bars Medicaid payment for services delivered in certain facilities with 16 or more beds, has been a major barrier against patients accessing treatment. Pennsylvania officials have stated on numerous occasions that they clearly understand the severity of the IMD exclusion and are working on numerous ways to resolve the problem. Trump’s announcement will likely make that easier to accomplish. This announcement may also allow for expanded access to telemedicine, including remote prescribing for medication-assisted treatment.

Governor Wolf stated that “President Trump’s decision to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency is an important step, but this is only the beginning.” He added that “Without a commitment to fund the crisis in specific ways, it’s difficult to say how much this declaration can do. While an awareness of this critical health emergency is important, an increased availability of grant money would help. Every effort to fund treatment, including medication-assisted treatment options, should be explored.”

Pennsylvania has numerous efforts underway to respond to this crisis. Governor Tom Wolf announced at the end of September that Pennsylvania, through its Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), had been awarded a $5.7 million Medication-Assisted Treatment Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction (MAT-PDOA) grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, to help in the state’s ongoing fight against the opioid epidemic. The US Department of Health and Human Services also awarded Pennsylvania a $26.5 million grant, funded by the 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law by President Obama in December 2016. Pennsylvania will soon award four $1 million federal PA Coordinated MAT grants to providers in Pennsylvania, via the 21st Century CURES grant funding. Over the next two years, the grant is intended to help combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. In addition, 45 Centers of Excellence (COE) have been implemented to better initiate people into — and keep them engaged in — treatment. DDAP is also working to expand the “warm handoff” process to get overdose survivors directly into treatment. DDAP has implemented a hotline to direct people needing help with treatment (800-662-HELP).

RCPA members have welcomed these initiatives, but members continue to emphasize the need for more funding for basic services. Many rates provided do not even cover the full cost of treatment; the drug and alcohol program has been chronically underfunded for many years. Increased capacity and improved access must be fully funded and that will take new and additional resources. Persons and families struggling for help with an opioid addiction should not have to wait for beds/placements — it is a matter of life or death.

Contact Lynn Cooper, RCPA Director, Drug & Alcohol Division, with any questions.

The Office of Developmental Programs and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has circulated information on the next two offerings in the Dual Diagnosis Professional Conference Series. There is no registration fee but pre-registration is required.

  1. Title: Drumming & Autism

Description: A four-hour workshop designed to show people how to facilitate rhythmic interventions with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This training is beginner friendly and requires no musical ability to be successful. These clinically proven techniques were developed at Saint Francis University and are designed to meet goals such as:

  • Increased attention to task;
  • Non-verbal expression;
  • Socialization; and
  • Stress reduction for individuals on the autism spectrum and other disabilities.

Audience: People providing clinical or other direct support to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Date: Monday, November 20, 2017
Time: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Torrance State Hospital (Torrance, PA)
Register here
Additional Information can be found here.

  1. Title: Delving More Deeply into Biographical Timeline Facilitation

Description: Will explore clinical and group dynamic issues that arise during the facilitation as well as approaches to help assure that the awareness developed during a biographical timeline process translate into better supports and clinical interventions. Questions collected in advance via a participants’ survey will be addressed during the training.

Audience: People trained in biographical timeline facilitation or who facilitate and/or attend the process regularly and want to enrich the experience and outcomes.
Date: Friday, December 1, 2017
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: PA Child Welfare Resource Center (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Register here
Additional information can be found here.

A MyODP account will be required in order to register for these events. If you need technical assistance, please email the MyODP HelpDesk. If you have questions about these programs, please email Carmen Culver.

ABFT training is the only manualized, empirically informed family therapy model specifically designed to target family and individual processes associated with adolescent suicide and depression. The training is designed for practicing mental health professionals and clinicians who are working with youth and young adults (ages 14–24).

On Wednesday, November 15, the overview of the model will be provided by Guy S. Diamond, PhD, and the December 5 & 6 trainings will be delivered by Suzanne A. Levy, PhD. See the registration flyer here for more information and registration links.

It is important for potential participants to know that ABFT is in the public domain; therefore, anyone who is trained on theoretical principles can use it. The model developers support use of ABFT after people attend the training. The practitioners are asked to describe the work they do post-training as “ABFT-informed work” rather than calling themselves an “ABFT Therapist” or “ABFT Certified Therapist.” If providers with trained professionals choose to begin participating in supervision groups with the developers, they can opt to have their names listed on Drexel University’s website under the “ABFT Trained, Not Certified” list of providers. Previously, this list was only for those who were pursuing videotape review. The developers have recently expanded the inclusion criteria.

You can also register for this ABFT training using the links below:

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Robena Spangler via email or 717-963-3614. Thank you in advance for taking advantage of this opportunity.