Children's Services

In today’s competitive health care environment marked by political and economic uncertainty, we need to speak with a united voice to strengthen the public behavioral health system and provide the best possible care to our clients, families, and communities. For this reason, we are excited to inform you that we have recently approved full membership with the National Council for Behavioral Health, which will benefit all members of RCPA.

The National Council supports you and your staff with business development and educational opportunities, insight into national trends related to mental health and addiction services, discounts on webinars and national conferences, and you will become part of a united movement of advocacy on behalf of behavioral health.

National Council offers extensive resources and national expertise in the behavioral health field. Key benefits of membership include:

  • Discounts on registration for the National Council’s Annual Conference and other events;
  • Participation in practice improvement initiatives;
  • Discounts on Mental Health First Aid instructor training;
  • Access to 50+ webinars with tools and resources on a variety of topics;
  • Discounts on Mental Health Weekly, The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, and Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly;
  • Exclusive access to the Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research;
  • Exclusive access to the Member Listserv and listserv archives on a variety of topics; and
  • Featured on the “Find a Provider” section of the National Council Website.

Together, we will attain our mutual goal: to ensure all Americans living with mental illnesses and addictions have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery.

Contact Sarah Eyster, RCPA Mental Health Division Director, with questions.

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The Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators Association (PCYA) is hosting a training on The Family First Prevention Act (FFPA) on January 30, 2019, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at the CCAP Office, located at 2789 Old Post Road, Harrisburg, PA. The Office of Children, Youth and Families will provide an overview of Family First and update attendees on Pennsylvania’s implementation plans moving forward. Providers and county staff are encouraged to attend.

The Act and the federal funding associated with it will dramatically change PA’s child welfare system. New requirements and new opportunities for use of Title IV-E and Title IV-B dollars to enhance prevention efforts will be included in the presentation.

The registration link is provided in this flyer.

If you have questions about the training, please contact:

Brian C. Bornman, Esq.
PCYA Executive Director
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
Phone: 717-836-4736 | Cell: 717-836-4267 | Fax: 717-526-1020 |

As we continue to work with the Department of Human Services (DHS) on the proposed Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) regulations, providers through the BHRS Work Group identified a potential solution to the real challenge of recruitment and retention of direct service staff. Providers experience varying degrees of difficulty with hiring Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS) and with recruitment of Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT). The letters below are intended to provide some guidance and assistance for those BHRS providers who need a solution to their staffing crisis.

The work group acknowledges that there are a number of other issues related to implementation of the proposed regulations and will continue to meet and collaborate on ways to address additional barriers. In the meantime, feel free to utilize these letters if necessary. Our members have reported that some of the County Oversight entities and the BH-MCOs are open to considering solutions and strategies to help address workforce challenges. If you have questions or additional input, please contact Robena Spangler.

The RCPA staff and conference committee would like to thank you all for sponsoring, exhibiting, advertising, and/or attending the 2018 RCPA Annual Conference.

It’s official: The 2019 RCPA Annual Conference will be held September 24–27 at the Hershey Lodge, in Hershey, PA — be sure to mark this landmark event on your calendars!

It is our hope that, as you plan your 2019 events, you will once again consider supporting and attending the conference. Some other key dates to remember:

  • The 2019 Call for Workshop Proposals will be sent out by the end of January.
  • The request for sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers will be sent out by the end of February.

For any questions about the RCPA Annual Conference, please contact Sarah Eyster, RCPA Conference Coordinator. We wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.

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The Implementation Report for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (CMHSBG) is submitted to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) annually to report the outcomes of the grant. The report includes both financial reporting and updates on the priorities set forth in the CMHSBG Application. Changes to the priorities can only be made in the biannual application; the Implementation Report only tracks the progress of those priorities already set. The majority of the Implementation Report requires charts that are submitted separately through the National Research Institute and are not available for review at this time.

The OMHSAS Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Program Development submits the attached sections through the SAMHSA Grant site (WebBGas). Any comments or questions regarding the CMHSBG 2019 Implementation Report may be directed to Wendy Tucker or 717-705-8280.

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The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has contracted with Mercer to conduct an extensive analysis related to the factors involved in serving youth with co-occurring mental illness and neurodevelopmental disorders, with a primary focus on youth being admitted to Residential and Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (P/RTFs). The goal of this project is to support identification, adoption, and sustained use of best and promising practices across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across child-serving agencies for serving this population. Mercer will test numerous hypotheses to identify underlying root causes contributing to ongoing challenges in meeting the needs of this population successfully in the community. This process will be done through:

  • Targeted interviews or focus groups with providers, behavioral health managed care organizations (BH-MCOs), primary contractors (PCs), family members, youth, and other identified system stakeholders;
  • Data analysis; and
  • Other targeted, investigative research.

Mercer will then offer actionable recommendations for systemic interventions to support sustainable improvements and provide ongoing technical assistance to support successful adoption and implementation.

The targeted interviews with the P/RTFs serving this population will be held via in-person focus groups. Mercer is requesting that, at a minimum, members from your leadership and clinical program teams are included as participants as well as any other folks that you deem responsible for the care of the population mentioned above.

It is important that all interviews are completed by the end of the calendar year. Therefore, in an effort to be mindful of possible time off for the holiday season, we would like to schedule in advance over the course of the next two months. Each focus group will be scheduled for two hours; below is the day and time scheduled for the session(s). Please place a hold on your calendars for this date/time. Focus group invite/instructions will be made available in the week.

Providers in the Southeast:
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 • 9:00 am – 11:00 am
OMHSAS Southeast Field Office
1001 Sterigere Street, Building #48, 2nd Floor
Norristown, PA 19401

Providers in the West:
Thursday, November 29, 2018 • 9:00 am – 11:00 am
George Junior Republic, Program Building
233 George Junior Road|
Grove City, PA 16127

Questions should be directed to Robena Spangler or Scott Talley.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is helping to connect some of our members with some researchers. Western Michigan University is conducting an NIH-sponsored study to better understand the usefulness of evidence-based program registries in behavioral health care.

Are you an executive or senior staff member who is involved in selecting and/or implementing behavioral health care interventions at your agency? If so, the study would like to conduct a short telephone interview with you. If not, we are asking that you forward this email to an appropriate colleague at your agency.

The interviews are confidential; no individual or agency names will be associated with responses. In appreciation, you or your agency can receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate, as allowable.

To schedule a telephone interview and/or for more information, please email and include your agency’s name and state. Responses will come from one of the study’s collaborating organizations: The Evaluation Center, Kercher Center, Rady Hospital, or DSG Inc.

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PA Project LAUNCH is offering an opportunity for professional growth and development for fathers in the Western Region. This community health advocate training will prepare fathers to make lasting change in the health of families and communities. The paid opportunity will provide participants with:

  • 25 hours of paid training
  • Free meals and childcare during the training
  • A netbook that participants keep after the training

Participants will learn about advocacy and community engagement, gain skills in self-care, and learn how to use their experiences to make changes in their communities. The training will be held on three Saturdays (November 3, November 10, and November 17) from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. The location of the training will be at Healthy Start Point Breeze, 400 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15208. Space is limited. Contact Shannon Lawhorn via phone (412-723-1342) for more details or email to find out how to apply.

This paid training is made possible through a partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department and generous funding from the Heinz Endowments and the Eden Hall Foundation.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is now accepting applications to participate in in a pilot program, the Opioid Misuse Prevention Project (OMPP).  The program is a new initiative targeting early, upstream prevention to reduce the risk factors that lead to substance misuse in general and opioids, in particular.

Ten sites will receive five years of funding to implement a public health campaign and two evidence-based programs – Lifeskills Training (LST) and Strengthening Families 10-14 (SFP) – to middle school/junior high school youth and their families. Applications are due in PCCD’s eGrants system November 15, 2018. To learn more, watch a 20-minute video about the rationale, core components, and how to apply for OMPDD funding, and visit the Evidence-based Prevention and Intervention Support Center (EPISCenter) website for additional application support materials.

About the Program
This evidence-based prevention response to Pennsylvania’s opioid epidemic relies on a combination of LifeSkills Training (LST) and Strengthening Families 10-14 (SFP). LST is a middle-school drug education and prevention program offered universally in the classroom; SFP is a family management and parenting skill development program offered to families with youth ages 10 to 14.  When offered in conjunction with each other, these programs have been shown to reduce the abuse of prescription pills by youth into their mid-twenties.

Pilot Program Implementation

  • The pilot version of the project will be implemented in 10 school districts in the Commonwealth.
  • Participating sites will be selected through a competitive process and will require a partnership between the school district, a local non-profit agency, and the Single County Authority.

The EPISCenter at Penn State University will coordinate technical assistance to ensure successful implementation.

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Community Behavioral Health (CBH) is in the process of updating the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Performance Standards. The updates reflect recent changes with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board guidelines, changes at the state level, and updates that will help promote access to quality ABA services. CBH is interested in feedback from providers, stakeholders, and families regarding the updated performance standards in its current stage.

Please review the draft of the ABA Performance Standards 2018 updates and then provide any feedback you have through SurveyMonkey. Please submit all feedback by Monday, October 29. Questions about the survey? Contact CBH Network Development Specialist Stephanie Wiseman. Thank you in advance for your feedback and participation.