Friday Update 3-13-15

Greetings faithful readers. If there is a predominant theme for this week, it would be without a doubt the theme of love. Love for dear friends and champions of the movement who have passed on, love for a mother with mental health challenges who bravely reaches out to her daughter, and love for a judge in Hamilton, Ohio, who leads with his heart. Let's get started by feelin' the love from South Korean heartthrob, Roy Kim, and then get to readin' Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week  

Assisted Outpatient Treatment site visit an eye opener
Six diverse advocates met in Hamilton, Ohio this week for an up close and personal observation of how one community approaches Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT). There is much to share and I should have a Morning Zen post ready to go for next week. Observation and dialogue with providers, families and advocates who walk the walk every day left all of us with an undeniable impression - love and humanity are key, regardless of your opinion on the AOT process.

Remembering Virginia "Ginny" Wood 
The children's mental health field has lost a pioneer and an extraordinary advocate with the passing of Virginia (Ginny) Wood. The founding executive director of the statewide family-run organization, Families Together of New York State, Ginny was loved and highly respected. Her perspective, expertise, and consultation were highly valued. Her smile was quick and steady, her voice strong and unwavering. She thought carefully about the issues at hand and always told the truth. Ginny Wood gave so much to so many and asked only that we keep our vision squarely focused on meeting the needs of children, youth, and families. Our thanks to Mary Armstrong for organizing a letter of remembrances, to be shared with Ginny's family and our collective national family. Network faithful who knew Ginny are encouraged to add their remembrances. 

A mother responds to childhood trauma; a family begins to heal 
Last week we featured a Morning Zen post from Daun Kauffman where he appealed to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, to seriously address the issue of childhood trauma. A reader sent in a heartfelt response from the perspective of a mother with mental health challenges. She gave us permission to share her letter but wanted to make sure it was okay with her daughter first. And so the healing begins… 

Ohio's diversion program helps juvenile offenders with behavioral health issues 
An evaluation of Ohio's Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice (BHJJ) initiative in eleven counties by social work researchers at Case Western Reserve University found the program benefits most young offenders diverted from detention centers to community-based agencies to treat mental health issues, drug problems or both. BHJJ is a program started 15 years ago at the request of Ohio juvenile court judges with help from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Ohio Department of Youth Services. For many, the encounter with the juvenile justice system was the first time they were screened for behavioral health problems, said Jeff M. Kretschmar, PhD, research assistant professor from the Begun Center. Kretschmar is lead author of the online article, "Diverting Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth with Behavioral Health Issues from Detention: Preliminary Findings From Ohio's Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice (BHJJ) Initiative," in Criminal Justice Policy Review

Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw 
Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw, by two-time Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Rick Goldsmith, tells the story of the "female Michael Jordan," from traumatic childhood to NCAA champion and WNBA superstar; through debilitating depression and near suicide. Holdsclaw's journey reveals the courage behind her mental health advocacy and the hardships of her ongoing recovery, providing a window on the challenges and stigma of mental illness, one of the last social taboos in America. Chamique's willingness to speak out about her experiences make this a refreshingly honest film about the stigma of mental illness in America. There is a campaign on Kickstarter designed to raise enough money to get this film made and spread its impact in the sports world, among youth, and beyond. Let's lend a hand, Network faithful! 

Wraparound is worth doing well 
Check out the new article by Eric Bruns, Co-Director of the National Wraparound Initiative (NWI). In the article, Eric examines some recent research on outcomes from poorly-implemented Wraparound services. He provides evidence that Wraparound has the best chance of succeeding when it is implemented with fidelity. 

Documentation of interventions addresses early warning signs of academic and social/emotional problems and monitors interventions 
Morning Zen regular contributor Kevin Dwyer teams up with Kristen Gracyainy to tell us about Documentation of Intervention (DOI). DOI is a relatively new and effective computer software tool used by school teams in Montgomery County, Maryland to measure what they are doing to address students' academic and social-emotional needs. School teams meet regularly to identify "early warning signs" of problems students are having in meeting expected academic and social-emotional mastery. Interventions are not just prescribed, but documented and monitored for implementation and fidelity. 

28th Annual Research & Policy Conference just around the corner! 
If you are heading to Tampa for the 28th Annual Research & Policy conference, be sure to stop me and say hello! Oh, and don't forget your flipflops. It's Florida, for goodness sakes...


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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO 

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