Call for Proposals

The Call for Proposals Portal is Now Closed!

Thank you for helping us achieve a record number of proposals! Details on selections coming soon.

The 32nd Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health will be held March 3-6, 2019 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown Hotel.Since 1988, this annual conference has been a leader in promoting the development of the research base essential to improved service systems for children and youth with mental health challenges and their families. Known widely as “The Tampa Conference,” this annual gathering of more than 500 researchers, evaluators, policymakers, administrators, parents, and advocates is sponsored by Child & Family Studies at the University of South Florida, in partnership with the Children’s Mental Health Network, Morehouse School of Medicine, the National Wraparound Initiative, Casey Family Programs, Florida Institute for Child Welfare, Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse, Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research, Pathways to Positive Futures, Child & Family Evidence Based Practice Consortium, Family-Run Executive Director Leadership Association and the National Technical Assistance Network for Children’s Behavioral Health


The Conference Planning Committee invites you to submit proposals for research benefiting children, youth and their families. Please take a moment to scroll down and review our special tracks and general topic areas below.

Special topic tracks

Behavioral Health Equity
In this track, presenters will provide forward-thinking and multidisciplinary approaches to address behavioral health disparities in our progressively complex health system – showcasing the latest evidence-based research and discoveries, innovative programs, and effective policies advancing behavioral health equity among vulnerable populations both domestically and globally. With growing diversity in our country and the current failure to reduce or eliminate associated risk factors that can influence behavioral health and health outcomes, it is imperative that policymakers, researchers, and the larger behavioral health community more fully examine the entire continuum of our complex health system. Therefore, topical discussions will also focus on the look at the upstream, midstream and downstream factors impacting health equity for under-resourced, vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Child Welfare
Co-sponsored by Casey Family Programs and the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, this track showcases new developments in community-based and other interventions to prevent or mitigate the impact of child maltreatment. It also includes presentations on how to address behavioral health issues for both children and parents involved in child welfare. For the 2019 conference, we are seeking proposals that present applied research, conceptual models, and strategies that address the integration of behavioral health in child welfare. Specifically, we are interested in presentations that address the capacity to:

  • Strengthen cross-system understanding and professional/provider competencies and practices as they relate to treatment goals, service planning, practice models, outcome expectations and legal requirements so that child welfare and behavioral health practitioners and providers have a similar set of goals and expectations.
  • Provide effective treatment of behavioral health conditions, while addressing trauma, the child-parent relationship, parenting skill development, enhancing parental capacities and improving the functioning of families in the child welfare system.
  • Have a systematic and focused leadership model with a strategic approach to implementing and sustaining an integrated treatment model.
  • Better understand the demographics of parents and children in the child welfare system and the array of services that are needed.

Evidence-based Practice in Systems of Care
Sponsored by the Child and Family Evidence-Based Practice Consortium, this track highlights research and technical assistance informing effective implementation of evidence-based practice in systems of care. Presentations focus upon workforce development, sustainability, and the implementation knowledge to practice gap in behavioral health care and child welfare. For the 2019 conference, we are seeking proposals that present applied research, conceptual models, and strategies that focus upon workforce and program development to deliver well-implemented evidence-based practice to children, youth and their families. We are especially interested in presentations that address these concerns:

  • With the 2018 passage of the Family First Act, child welfare organizations must select, install and implement promising, research-based or evidence-based practices. These practices require a sustained focus upon effective, adherent implementation of these practices. Even if implementation was compromised or constrained, we are interested in data-informed presentations of the challenges experienced, attempted strategies, child and family outcomes, and lessons learned.
  • Examples of child welfare or behavioral health care organizations working with academic professional degree programs to integrate evidence-based practice and implementation science into courses and field learning to develop future practitioners, supervisors and administrators. How effective are these efforts? What challenges were experienced and what lessons were learned?
  • The development of quality assurance and fidelity assessment tools to guide effective, adherent implementation of evidence-based practice to improve client outcomes.

Family Engagement
This track focuses on presentations highlighting innovative research designs that partner with parents, family members, and family-run organizations, as well as research efforts led by family members and family-run organizations. Research areas include: family engagement in child-serving systems such as juvenile justice, behavioral health, or child welfare; partnerships between family members or family-run organizations and researchers/evaluators; and unique roles family members and family-run organizations leaders play in research and evaluation. Of particular interest are research findings that will help shape policies, practices, and treatments leading to positive long-term outcomes for children, youth, young adults and families impacted by mental and behavioral health.

Innovations in Wraparound
In this track, leaders in Wraparound management, supervision, evaluation, quality assurance and research will present an array of cutting-edge developments in care coordination for youth with complex needs. Sessions will focus on predictors of child and families outcomes, new measures of Wraparound implementation and quality, and training and workforce development approaches. Topical discussions on youth-driven care and serving culturally diverse youth round out the track.

Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse (ITRE)
ITRE is a National Institute on Drug Abuse funded (R25DA031103) research education program with a mission to develop, cultivate, and disseminate an innovative model of research education that addresses best practices for translational research in the field of adolescent behavioral health, as it relates to substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. The Institute offers a graduate certificate program in which Institute Scholars work alongside academic mentors, community agency partners, and national mentors to complete service learning research projects. The Institute for Translational Research Track will include presentations of results from translational research projects along with discussions by leaders in the field regarding current trends in the field of implementation science.

Youth and Young Adults
The goal of this track is to share research findings to improve the lives of and services, treatments, and supports for youth and young adults (ages 14-30) living with or at risk of mental health and/or substance use conditions. This track includes research on issues relating to the transition to adulthood for adolescents, and appropriate services for youth and young adults, including developmentally-tailored and culturally appealing services and supports and related policy issues. The track also includes presentations highlighting the value and impact of youth and young adult involvement in the design and delivery of services, supports, and policies.

General topic areas

  • Research and policy associated with preventing and alleviating trauma in the lives of families, children, and emerging adults.
  • Community-based policies, services, and strategies addressing disparities.
  • Systems research on processes that impact effectiveness.
  • Research on family, youth, and young adult roles in behavioral health services.
  • Implementation of Evidence-based practice research and policy.
  • Innovative approaches to research and evaluation in complex behavioral health settings.
  • Community-based policy approaches addressing Substance Abuse/Dual Diagnosis services.
  • Early childhood behavioral health.
  • Building capacity to provide coordinated behavioral health community responses to American Indian/Alaska Native families.
  • Research on Wraparound and care coordination for youth and families with the most complex and costly needs.