Sandra Spencer and the National Federation of Families begin new chapters

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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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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
Children's Mental Health Network 


  1. LaVerne Miller's avatar
    LaVerne Miller
    | Permalink
    Sandra :

    Wishing you the best. I enjoyed our time working together. I will stay in touch.
  2. Sandra Spencer's avatar
    Sandra Spencer
    | Permalink
    Thank you all for your the tons of emails, phone calls, text and blogs of support. I considered it a honor to have served as Executive Director of the Federation. This is my life story and my passion for our children and families will continue to drive the next chapter of my life. You can reach me via my personal email address at
  3. Gail Cormier's avatar
    Gail Cormier
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    As the leader of the state chapter of the Federation of Families in North Carolina (NC Families United), it has been an honor to work beside Sandra and her crew and board of directors.
    Since joining the family organization in 2006, I have been awestruck at the growth of the family movement, the Family Partner workforce and the family driven voice of our community. It has been in part because of the work at the Federation of Families. Sandra, we at NC Families United wish you the best.
  4. Veronica Outlaw's avatar
    Veronica Outlaw
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    God Bless you Sandra in all your life's endeavors. I do have very fond memories of WE CARE and Pen Pal. So glad to have been a part of the beginning. Looking forward to hearing great things about you!!!
  5. Rene` Anderson's avatar
    Rene` Anderson
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    Hi Sandra, wishing you the best as God opens new doors and new visions that will allow you to continue to bless and have a profound impact on others across the globe. Look out World!
  6. Joyce Sebian's avatar
    Joyce Sebian
    | Permalink
    Wishing you all the best Sandra- you've done amazing work! It's been an honor to work with you and participate in the vision for children's mental health in the nation that you have advanced - what's next?
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