Friday Update

Friday Update 10-28-19

October 28, 2019

Greetings, faithful readers. Much darkness touched upon in this issue of Friday Update, so to balance things out a bit, let’s start with a delightful cover by PMG of the Cars hit song, Just What I Needed. Get what you need from this video (Pay attention to the guy playing the tambourine), enjoy the endorphin rush, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

The Psychological Impact of Child Separation at the US-Mexico Border
How does psychological trauma affect children’s developing brains? In this powerful talk, Luis Zayas, dean of the School of Social Work and the Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy at the University of Texas, Austin, discusses his work with refugees and asylum-seeking families at the US-Mexico border. What emerges is a stunning analysis of the long-term impact of the United States’ controversial detention and child separation policies.

Peer Specialists in the Mental Health Workforce: A Critical Reassessment
Great read from our colleagues at Mad In America.
It is time to seriously consider re-focusing our energy and resources away from placing peer staff in roles where they support the mental health system’s status quo and toward the goal of making high-quality peer advocacy available to people faced with coercion by the mental health system.

The White House Didn’t like My Agency’s Research. so It Sent Us to Missouri
This troubling article highlights the efforts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture to systematically dismantle research efforts that may result in findings different from the current administration policy direction. What does this have to do with children’s mental health? Well, everything. We are witnessing a similar systematic dismantling of quality evidence-based research within the halls of SAMHSA, the federal agency that is responsible for ensuring that the nation’s public mental health system is responsive to the needs of its constituents. The strategies may not be as bold as relocating DC-based employees to the middle of the country, but with the dismantling of the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs, redeploying content experts to minor roles within the agency to silence their voices, morale within the agency that is at an all-time low, and increasing resignations of career employees, we see a most troubling trend. Read the article and see the similarities for yourself.

Letter from Dr. Gary Blau to Building Bridges Initiative Stakeholders
So good to have Gary Blau’s voice strong and clear as he embraces his role as Executive Director of The Hackett Center for Mental Health. In this Morning Zen post, Gary shares his letter to the field, sharing his ongoing support for the Building Bridges Initiative. The post is full of updates on Building Bridges activities, links to great resources (including an announcement of a forthcoming book), and a charge to the field for how to move the Building Bridges movement forward.

New Resource for Nominating Wraparound for the FFPSA Clearinghouse
Important announcement from our friends at the National Wraparound Implementation Center
In accordance with the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), The Administration for Children and Families established the Title IV- E Prevention Services Clearinghouse to review research on programs and services that provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements. The Clearinghouse issued a call to the public to nominate programs for review. Nominations are due before October 31, 2019. The Clearinghouse determines which programs can be funded under FFPSA. It is crucially important that Intensive Care Coordination using High-Fidelity Wraparound is included in the Clearinghouse so that it can be funded under the FFPSA. The National Wraparound Initiative (NWI) has prepared materials that will help anyone who is nominating Wraparound for the Clearinghouse.

Tampa Conference Proposal Update
We had a record number of proposals submitted this year! Oh my, we have a legion of reviewers from across the nation hard at work reviewing proposals for presentation at the conference. Keep them in your thoughts! And pull those Bermuda Shorts out of the closet and pack ’em for your trip to Tampa in March. Yes, Canadian Network Faithful, this message is for you!

Tampa Conference Plenary Session Added – Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act: An Opportunity to Invest in the Employment of Youth and Young Adults (Ages 14+) with Mental Health Conditions
Learn all about The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), passed by Congress in 2014, and designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market. One of the most innovative pieces of WIOA is that it mandates specific approaches for youth, including state vocational rehabilitation agencies providing Pre-Employment Transition Services (pre-ETS) for students with disabilities. Students with serious mental health conditions should have access to pre-ETS, which include work-based learning experiences like internships. This plenary will describe research findings about the collaboration between state vocational rehabilitation and child mental health systems, and provide an overview of WIOA and what it mandates for students and youth with disabilities, and how it came to be.

Determinants of Health and Well-Being for Children of Immigrants: Moving From Evidence to Action
Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores and Jennifer Medina Vaughn summarize ground-breaking research, funded by the Foundation for Child Development’s Young Scholars Program (YSP), which illustrates the dire situation of children of immigrants in the U.S. today. The authors use a social determinants of health framework to illuminate how social, economic, and sociopolitical conditions directly influence a child’s overall well-being as well as their physical and mental health. Anti-immigrant environments and policies create a climate of fear, foster adverse mental health due to trauma, and potential physical deprivation that leads to poor child development and life-long outcomes.

Re-Conceptualizing & Boosting Engagement for Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Needs in Community-Based Services
Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST
Be sure to create space on your calendar for this webinar, hosted by the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The webinar examines the complexity of service engagement for 18-25-year-olds enrolled in multidisciplinary team-based services. Participants will learn that engagement is a process, experience, relationship, and outcome. Findings from a study using mixed-methods to examine service exits and experiences will be discussed. New practice principles of young adult engagement will be proposed. This webinar has implications for direct care providers, state and agency administrators, policymakers, and researchers who aim to boost engagement among vulnerable young adults through multidisciplinary, community-based treatment team models, including first-episode psychosis and clinical high risk for psychosis programs across the country. Check out past webinars here!

What States Need to Know About the Family First Act’s Evidence Requirements
A new brief from Child Trends highlights next steps for state agencies, legislators, and researchers to achieve the Family First Act’s goals of supporting children in remaining safely in their homes and encouraging family-based placement when foster care placement is necessary, through the use of evidence-based services. The brief outlines the research and evaluation requirements for prevention and kinship navigator services that are eligible for federal reimbursement under the Family First Act.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

My passion is helping to shape policy and practice in children’s mental health. For the past 40 years, my journey as a mental health advocate has traveled from volunteering at a suicide and crisis center, professional roles as a therapist in an outpatient clinic, in-home family therapist, state mental health official, Board Chair for a county mental health program, and national reviewer of children’s mental health systems reform efforts. As the founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network (2009), I lead the Network’s efforts to grow a national online forum for the exchange of ideas on how to continually improve children’s mental health research, policy and practice.

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