I like to think of the children's mental health movement that I have been a part of for the last thirty years as a series of chapters in a never ending story. A story of how communities across the nation wrestle with the complexities of building and ensuring family voice as an equal partner with care providers.
Sandra Spencer, Executive Director of the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, is moving on to new opportunities in her professional career. With this move, she closes one chapter and opens a new one for herself, which, knowing Sandra, will be most exciting.
The first chapter of the Federation centered around Barbara Huff, the architect of building a new national voice for families 26 years ago. In those early days, Barbara had to navigate the Federation through the challenges of mobilizing support among providers, researchers and policymakers just to get parents recognized as being valuable partners in treatment planning for their children.
Then, ten years ago, Barbara closed the first chapter of the Federation and transitioned back to Kansas. Sandra was tapped to be the Executive Director of the Federation and began the second chapter of this dynamic organization. Sandra took the helm and steered the organization into uncharted waters during a time of rapid change and growth of family involvement in all sectors of the mental health field.
The last ten years have seen the rise of families as providers, certification programs, and the growing acceptance of family voice as an integral component of policy development. It has been an exciting time in the national dialogue around the role of families in the mental health field, and Sandra has been right in the middle of it.
And now, both Sandra Spencer and the Federation enter new chapters in this never ending story. Sandra - Embrace your next chapter, as I know you will. We at the Children's Mental Health Network wish you well.
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President & CEO
Children's Mental Health Network