Children's Services

The 20th Children’s Interagency Conference will bring together Pennsylvania’s Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) and System of Care (SOC) partners providing behavioral health. The conference will provide an excellent opportunity for providers, county administrators, youth, family members, practitioners, and educators to learn about changing trends, promising and best practices, resources and various system of care activities across Pennsylvania.
The conference will also add a national perspective on a variety of issues including government, family peer, early childhood, youth leadership, and school-based mental health.

The 2018 RCPA conference will take place October 2–4 (please note new dates) at the Hershey Lodge. A premier statewide event, the Conference Committee is seeking workshop proposals for possible inclusion. This event offers diverse educational opportunities and submissions are needed in every area; a complete listing of focus tracks is available on the online proposal form. Presentations are encouraged that assist providers to develop and maintain quality, stable, and effective treatments, services, and agencies in an industry where change is constant. The committee looks for presentations which:

  • Highlight new policy, research, and treatment initiatives such as the CCBHC model and Centers of Excellence, to name a few;
  • Provide specific skills and information related to individual and organizational leadership development and enhancement;
  • Address system changes that affect business practices such as Community HealthChoices and integrated and co-located care; and
  • Offer concrete skills and tools to operate more efficient and effective agencies, allowing organizations to strive, survive, and thrive.

Workshop ideas beginning to percolate for 2018 include pharmacogenomics; technology as a human resource option; executive leadership; integrated care strategies for implementation and reimbursement; XYZ rate setting; social capital; ethics; sexuality and sexual abuse issues in the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) service area; trauma informed care across service types; emergency planning for community violence; acquisitions/mergers and consolidations; value-based purchasing; abuse and protection in the aging population; emerging leaders. The committee welcomes any proposal that addresses these and other topics essential to the rehabilitation, brain injury, mental health, addiction, aging, children’s, and developmental disability communities. Members are encouraged to consider submitting proposals and to forward this opportunity to those who are exceptionally good speakers and have state-of-the-art information to share.

The Call for Proposals and accompanying guidelines outline requirements for submissions. The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 16 at 5:00 pm. Confirmation of receipt will be sent. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Proposals selected stand out by inclusion of solid learning objectives, information that a participant can use to enhance professional skills or methods, and being geared to a diverse and advanced audience. If the proposal is accepted, individuals must be prepared to present on any day of the conference. Workshops are 90 or 180 minutes in length. At the time of acceptance, presenters will be required to confirm the ability to submit workshop handouts electronically four weeks prior to the conference. Anyone unable to meet this expectation should not submit proposals for consideration.

Individuals are welcome to submit multiple proposals. Notification of inclusion will be made by May 15. Questions may be directed to Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has prepared and distributed a plan for regulatory revisions to be made over the next several years. While there are many regulations currently under review, this plan identifies the next round of revisions. In addition, OMHSAS will work with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) as indicated while revising the regulations. For more information, please contact OMHSAS directly.

ABFT training is being offered on the following dates:

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

On Behalf Of: Leeper, Cristal
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2017 9:54 AM
Subject: Make a difference! Join PA’s Mental Health Planning Council

Do you want to make a real difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians with mental health and substance use disorders?

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ (OMHSAS) Mental Health Planning Council is currently accepting applications for new members!

In the words of its members, Mental Health Planning Council ​”helps the state of Pennsylvania live its stated commitment to quality, meaningful, recovery-oriented behavioral health care for citizens wanting wellness and wholeness” and “advocates for the behavioral health and wellness of all Pennsylvania’s citizens.”

The Planning Council provides a forum for youth, adults, and family members with lived experience to work side-by-side with advocates, providers, administrators, and OMHSAS leadership to provide recommendations regarding important, statewide policy and programmatic issues.

Current Planning Council members say:

“The voices of those who who are working towards health, wellness, and recovery must be part of the discussion on how this system is designed, implemented, and evaluated.” 

“I have learned a lot about how things work on the state level and have felt like a vital component of decision making.” 

“I learn about how the public system works, what effective services look like, and have the opportunity to authentically join with all partners to build a better world.” 

“Members have first-hand knowledge of the issues facing [individuals] across the state and are a part of making recommendations for solutions.”

“Anyone who wants to better understand the public system of behavioral health services and wants to be involved in shaping its future should consider joining Mental Health Planning Council.” 

To be considered for the membership term starting in July 2018, please complete and return the application by March 31, 2018. We will also be reviewing the applications from individuals that applied at the beginning of this year but were not appointed.

For more information about the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council, visit or contact  Individuals interested in applying for membership are encouraged to attend the February 28, 2018 meeting of the Mental Health Planning Council in Mechanicsburg, PA (details attached).

Note, planning Council members must be willing and able to attend at least three meetings per year in the Harrisburg, PA area (some or all travel expenses may be reimbursable; please contact us for details).

We look forward to hearing from you!

Feel free to forward this message.

The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development is conducting a survey of behavioral health providers and stakeholders, to gain a better perspective on the behavioral health workforce in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania. This work, commissioned by the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, is an effort to get an accurate picture of the strengths of our regional behavioral health workforce and the challenges faced every day.

This short survey is related to behavioral health staffing assets and needs at your agency or organization. Access the survey here. When you have finished filling out the survey, please return it to Erin McCormick.

The Department of Human Services has been working in collaboration with Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), county oversight organizations, and RCPA regarding the concerns and challenges with implementing federal Ordering, Referring and Prescribing (ORP) requirements by the January 1, 2018 deadline. The Department of Human Services has informed RCPA of the following:

  • The ORP requirements for Fee-for-Service continue to apply; i.e., allORP practitioners must be enrolled in the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance (MA) Program or the rendering provider will not be paid.
  • In the HealthChoices managed care delivery system, if a rendering network provider submits a claim to an MCO with the National Provider Identifier (NPI) information that results in edits identifying that the non-networkORP is not enrolled in MA, the claim can be paid. However, if the non-MA enrolled ORP has a high volume of claims, the MCO will work with the network provider and non-MA enrolled ORP to have them enroll in MA or work to transition the member to an enrolled MA provider.

Contact your contracting BH-MCO for additional information.