In the News

MEDIA, PENNSYLVANIA — CareLink Community Support Services announced today that Gary Woomer has been appointed Interim CEO of the nonprofit agency. Mr. Woomer, an experienced leader and mental healthcare professional, succeeded Eileen M. Joseph and assumed responsibilities on December 10, 2020. Ms. Joseph retired from CareLink after leading the agency for nearly 40 years.

“Eileen Joseph had been a part of CareLink since 1981 and steered the agency through phenomenal growth,” said CareLink Board Chair Scot Stetka. “We appreciate her contributions and wish her well.”

Mr. Woomer joined CareLink as a Program Director in 1999, and has since served as a Regional Director, Vice President of Program Operations, and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to his tenure at CareLink, Mr. Woomer was employed at Prime Care, Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

“Gary Woomer has been with CareLink for more than 20 years,” Mr. Stetka said. “He stepped into his new role equipped with a wealth of industry experience, strong leadership skills, and a comprehensive understanding of the agency. We are confident that he can maintain the momentum necessary to keep CareLink moving forward as Interim CEO.”

Mr. Woomer received an Executive Leadership Certificate from the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Mawr College in 2019, a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of St. Francis in 1998, and a bachelor’s in psychology from Shippensburg University in 1989. He is currently a member of the Philadelphia Alliance of MH/MR/SA Agencies, the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association, the Montgomery County Association for Excellence, and the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.

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Since 1959, CareLink Community Support Services has been dedicated to providing people with mental illness and developmental disabilities with the caring support they need to live, work, and participate in the community with dignity and independence. Today, CareLink serves individuals in 33 community programs throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.

Media Contact: 

Kate Rosin
CareLink Community Support Services
krosin@carelinkservices.org
(610)-874-1119, ext. 613
www.carelinkservices.org

PITTSBURGH, PA – Allegheny Family Network (AFN), a family-run organization supporting parents raising children with mental health concerns in Allegheny County and across Pennsylvania, announces the hiring of Joyce Blackburn as Deputy Chief Executive Officer beginning in December 2020. Ruth Fox, Chief Executive Officer, will continue as Chief Executive Officer.

Blackburn has dedicated her life’s work in service to families, rising to directorship of child-serving agencies in the Pittsburgh area that support the mental health and special education needs of children and families in the region. Most recently as Executive Director of Allegheny Children’s Initiative, Blackburn led the agency in an expansion of existing services, the addition of a program serving families who are experiencing intimate partner violence, and the adjustment from traditional service delivery to telehealth due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a licensed social worker and an accredited therapist, Blackburn understands the challenges and obstacles families and professionals face in seeking and obtaining quality therapeutic programs, as well as the success that can come to a family that receives effective support through their child’s journey. Blackburn also held positions at Wesley Spectrum Services (now Wesley Family Services), Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Community Human Services, and the Jewish Child Care Association (New York).

“Joyce has been a colleague since 2012 and a real friend to Allegheny Family Network,” said Fox. “AFN is delighted to have Joyce Blackburn as our Deputy CEO. We are rejoicing that Joyce is now part of the AFN team and will be using her expertise for our mission to support ‘family voice’.”

Blackburn became acquainted with the Allegheny Family Network’s mission – “Through peer-to-peer support, education and advocacy, we partner with families of children with behavioral health needs to improve their quality of life” – while attending mental health conferences, providing trainings in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and collaborating with AFN staff on various projects.

Blackburn will navigate through the family-run organization as a Deputy CEO while Fox begins her succession plan into retirement. While Blackburn has trained professionals, supported child protective service case workers, directed the development of new services and provided in-home mental health treatment, the work at AFN will present a new opportunity for a role primarily supporting parents and advocating for Family Voice and Choice.

“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to serve families and their children through the inspiring work done by AFN. I have long admired the work of AFN staff and look forward to taking a leading role in AFN’s expanding mission,” said Blackburn.

Blackburn received her MSW from the Columbia University School of Social Work, a post-master certificate from Hunter College in Social Work Administration, and two B.A. degrees from Pennsylvania State University. She has received accreditation through the Academy of Certified Social Workers.

Allegheny Family Network is a peer-to-peer model organization offering various programs and services for parents and caregivers raising children with mental health, emotional or behavioral concerns. AFN works with hundreds of families each week to navigate through all of the Child-Serving Systems including Behavioral Health, Children, Youth and Families (CYF), Juvenile Justice, Education and special programs for Foster Parents, Fathers, incarceration reunification, housing and employment to accomplish goals for the betterment of the parents and the children.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO CONTACT JOYCE BLACKBURN OR RUTH FOX FOR INTERVIEW, PLEASE RESPOND BY EMAIL TO MWOODY@ALLEGHENYFAMILYNETWORK.ORG.

 

Lesley Corey, who brings with her a 29-year career in behavioral healthcare and developmental disabilities, will become the Executive Vice President/COO of Step By Step, Inc. effective January 4, 2021.

She recently served as Vice President of Operations for a nationwide provider and was responsible for the oversight of six different states and a multitude of treatment programs including substance abuse, applied behavioral analysis, outpatient therapy, case management, home health services, and treatment foster care.

She succeeds Michael Bernatovich who relocated to Texas after 40 years with the agency.

Mike Bernatovich, Emeritus Executive Vice President/COO stated, “Upon learning of Leslie’s background and experience, I was excited to learn she was joining the Step By Step team. With the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, Step By Step is fortunate to have Leslie’s talents to both strengthen our reputation as a quality human service provider and to continue our mission to Opening Doors to Independence and Opportunity to those individuals we support.”

Eric Lindey, President/Chief Executive Officer shared: “We are delighted to welcome Lesley to Step By Step. Her qualifications are impressive but, even more so, her character, demeanor, and attitude are exactly what our consumers, employees, and stakeholders expect and deserve. I want to thank Mike Bernatovich for his exemplary leadership and I look forward to working with him and Lesley as we transition her into this extremely important role with our organization.”

Corey is also an adjunct professor, teaching courses in the disciplines of Psychology, Education, Sociology, Human Services, and Behavioral Health. Corey recently worked with the Chair of the Department of History and Social Sciences at Luzerne County Community College to develop a new diploma degree program, Behavioral Technician. This program was inspired by her years of treating, developing, and implementing therapeutic programs for children, adolescents, and adults in human services delivery systems.

Corey possesses a Doctor of Education Leadership Degree, a Certification in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration, a certification in Attachment Based Family Therapy, and a certification in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Step By Step, Inc., is a private, non-profit corporation devoted to the provision of community support services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, behavioral health difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, and physical disabilities.

Established in 1977, the agency today provides services to over 2,000 individuals in four regions across more than a dozen Pennsylvania counties.

Tablet on a desk - Newsletter

Over the last several years, RCPA had produced a monthly newsletter – gathering articles and information for members on a more global basis. This was in addition to the daily (alerts, infos) and weekly information provided. Our statistics show that this newsletter was, in fact, read (or at least opened!) by membership on a fairly routine basis.

With the appearance of COVID, however, everything seemed to become “immediate.” The notion of a monthly newsletter seemed to become antiquated and out of touch with the needs of our members and what was happening to the minute of each day during an ongoing crisis.

As we look back at the last year, as a staff we discussed what perhaps had been missed by not providing this communication. We did not want to simply revisit producing the monthly newsletter, just because that’s the way business had always been; those times have passed.

But admittedly, there are some things that are falling through the cracks during this “everything is now” culture. So after discussion, we are moving to the creation of a Quarterly Newsletter – but not one that simply rehashes all that we have already sent out to membership. You have this information already, and by the time of our newsletter publication it may be “stale” or even outdated.

Rather, this publication will focus on topics such as the following:

  • Articles from provider members and businesses on a range of topics;
  • Programs / best practices / technology highlights;
  • Introduction of new members;
  • Content from our national association partners that has not been covered elsewhere;
  • Updates from our growing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee;
  • Updates from other projects (e.g., Media Campaign) and committees;
  • Member updates (e.g., honoring staff, awards given);
  • Legislative tracking updates; and
  • Conference and educational updates and opportunities.

Please join us in the creation of this newsletter and in assisting with the content of this new publication. We hope you will enjoy this addition to the RCPA member communication. We envision this new endeavor beginning in March 2021.