Friday Update 2-24-17

February 26, 2017


Friday Update 2-24-17

Greetings faithful readers. I want to start off this week with a special song for a special advocate, who is grindin’ it out day in and day out, determined to not let the land of “no” get in the way of the land of “what is right.” Enjoy the beauty of composer James Newton Howard’s interpretation of the Bob Dylan classic, The Times They Are A Changin’. Give yourself the gift of six minutes of zen and let the music wash over you, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week

President Trump Sends A “Dear Colleague” Letter Rolling Back Protections for Transgender Students
Dear colleague, you know all of that stuff I said during the campaign about protecting the LGBTQ community? Yea, about that…”
Well, it didn’t take long for Attorney General Sessions and President Trump to remind Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who is running the show. In a “Dear Colleague” letter, the Trump administration rolled back protections for transgender students who sought to use public school bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity. 

CNN Interview With Gavin Grimm, Transgender Teen Advocate
Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender student, was barred from using the boys’ bathroom at his Virginia high school. Grimm is the plaintiff in a lawsuit that the Supreme Court is set to hear next month. 

30th Annual Research and Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health Just Around the Corner!
The final program is now online, so download it and stick it on your bulletin board as a reminder of how much you are going to learn, be motivated by, and bask in quality time with, colleagues who are hard at work strengthening research and policy in children’s mental health. Now, where are my Ray-Bans…  

House of Representatives’ (Majority) Leadership Releases Obamacare Repeal and Replace Policy Brief and Resources Document 
This powerpoint document will give you a feel for where the Republican majority is going with ACA repeal efforts. Leading the way is the Energy and Commerce Committee, you know, the same committee that likes to boast about being “mental health champions” citing their work on the Helping All Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. It is critical that mental health advocates hold their representatives accountable for explaining how their actions around ACA repeal will impact youth and families involved in the mental health delivery system in America.  

But Wait, It Gets Better and More Detailed! 
Here is the draft Repeal and Replace bill (all 106 pages of it) that was leaked to Politico. Once again, mental health advocates have got to wake up. This bill calls for doing away with Medicaid expansion, rolling back Medicaid spending, and creating high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions (of particularl concern to the Network). Regardless of your position on the ACA, with the proposals being floated by the Republican Majority, you must ask your congressional representative what they see as the impact of these proposed changes on children and youth with behavioral health challenges and their families. 

And in Case You Need More Data 
According to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, released Friday morning, the public now views the Affordable Care Act more favorably than it has since the summer of its enactment. Some 48 percent view the law favorably — up from 43 percent in December. About 42 percent have an unfavorable view of the ACA — down from 46 percent in December. The pollsters say Independents are mostly responsible for the shift. A separate poll by the Pew Research Center found 54 percent approve of the health care law — the highest scores for Obamacare in the poll’s history. Meanwhile, 43 percent said they disapprove. 

CFS Continues to Grow in Academic Programs, Teaching, and Training Grants for Behavioral Health Students
The severe shortage of behavioral health providers in the U.S serving children and adolescents is well known and presents an alarming challenge for the nation’s health care delivery system. Fortunately, there are strong leaders at the university level who are proactively designing research and training programs to help stem this tide. One of the premier examples of a comprehensive research and training approach to behavioral health at the university level is taking place at the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Department of Child & Family Studies (CFS) at the University of South Florida. Led by CMHNetwork Advisory Council member, Dr. Mario Hernandez, the CFS team is setting the national standard for how universities can offer a welcoming and supportive research and training environment to future behavioral health providers. The number of students, as well as the number of both undergraduate and graduate courses taught by CFS faculty, has grown significantly since 2006. CFS’s undergraduate teaching has grown by 1,154%, and its graduate teaching has grown by 607%! The next generation of behavioral health leaders needs more access to quality training and education. Share the CFS approach with your local university and let’s figure out how to spread the CFS approach nationwide! 

With All of the Recent Talk About Vouchers and Concern About the Protection for Children With Disabilities, What Does the Data Say?
A fascinating essay in the NYTimes this past week that chronicles the history of school choice vouchers, dating back to 1955, when Milton Friedman first proposed the idea. Now, research data is coming out that is showing some troubling statistics for those who are proponents of school choice vouchers. In one recent study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank and proponent of school choice, they found that “Students who use vouchers to attend private schools have fared worse academically compared to their closely matched peers attending public schools.” Lot’s of research data from both sides of the issue in this article. A worthy read!

Integrating Primary and Behavioral Health Care Through the Lens of Prevention – Call for Proposals Closes March 1st

Great opportunity to learn from thought-leaders in the fields of prevention, primary care, and behavioral health care. Share your field experiences, insights, and expertise with colleagues who will benefit from your input. Develop a Plan-of-Action post conference to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare in your community today and tomorrow.

Funding Opportunity: Brookdale Foundation Group issues RFP for Seed Grants
Brookdale Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) grants for supportive services to grandparents and other relatives raising children
The Brookdale Foundation Group has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the creation or expansion of supportive services to grandparents and other relatives raising children. Up to 15 programs will be selected to receive a seed grant of $15,000 ($10,000 and $5,000 respectively) contingent upon progress made during year one with potential for continuity in the future. On-going technical assistance will also be provided. Any 501 (c)(3) or equivalent not-for-profit organization can apply. For additional information, contact Melinda Perez-Porter, RAPP Director, at

What to Do (And Not Do) When Children Are Anxious
Caregivers play a vital role in helping a child manage anxiety. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say and do when a child is anxious. This NIMH webinar offers practical strategies to help caregivers and children break the cycle of anxiety.

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO 

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