Call for Proposals


March 15-18, 2020

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 700 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, the National Technical Assistance Network for Children’s Behavioral Health, and the Movember Foundation.

Now in its 33rd year, the “Tampa Conference” encourages researchers, evaluators, and policymakers to become engaged in developing creative solutions for the issues facing the country’s most challenged children and their families. Presenters and participants share significant accomplishments in the field, including new frameworks, conceptual models, and methodological approaches.

The Conference Planning Committee invites you to submit proposals for research and policy benefiting children, youth and their families.

Special topic tracks

Behavioral Health Equity
Co-sponsored by the Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of South Florida, presenters in this track 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. This track also includes presentations on how to address behavioral health issues for both children and parents involved in child welfare.

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 should focus on workforce development, sustainability, and the implementation knowledge to practice gap in behavioral health care and child welfare.

Family Engagement
Sponsored by the Family-Run Executive Director Leadership Association, 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 organization 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
Sponsored by the National Wraparound Initiative, 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 family 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.

Youth and Young Adults
Sponsored by the Learning and Working RRTC at the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research, the goal of this track is to share research findings to improve the lives of youth and young adults (ages 14-30) living with or at risk of mental health conditions. This track includes research on issues relating to the transition to adulthood for adolescents, and on developmentally tailored and culturally appealing services and supports and related policy issues for older youth and young adults. 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.

Innovative Initiatives on Improving Men and Boys Mental Health and Wellbeing
The Movember Foundation and the University of South Florida, presentations in this track will focus on prevention and effective interventions aimed at addressing the behavioral health needs of men and boys. Of particular interest are research/evaluation–supported innovative programs, partnerships or policy initiatives that focus on men and boys of color, or other marginalized or at risk male populations. Considering the interplay of socio-ecological factors that affect the behavioral health of men and boys, presentations can be focused on policy, community, interpersonal or individual level factors that affect male mental wellbeing, including the role of masculinity and gendered norms. Research and evaluation approaches/metrics assessing the impact of such factors, as well as approaches and metrics assessing the outcome of male centered programs are welcomed in this track.

General topic areas

  • Research and policy associated with preventing and alleviating trauma in the lives of families, children, and emerging adults
  • Systems research on processes that impact effectiveness
  • Research on family, youth and young adult roles in behavioral health services
  • Innovative approaches to research and evaluation in complex behavioral health settings
  • Community-based policy approaches addressing Substance Use/Dual Diagnosis services
  • Early childhood behavioral health
  • Building capacity to provide coordinated behavioral health community responses to American Indian/Alaska Native families

Proposal Submission Guidelines –


Please review the guidelines thoroughly before you begin the submission process. All proposals are to be completed online. The online proposal site is now CLOSED. This year’s deadline for submissions is Friday, October 11, 2019 at 8:00 pm EST. Changes to the proposals may be completed online up until the deadline; however, no changes will be accepted after that date. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. PowerPoint submissions will not be accepted.

For questions regarding the Call for Proposals process, please contact Scott Bryant-Comstock via email at or phone at (919) 219-2342.

Please note:
The conference registration fee structure does not include a reduced rate for presenters. All conference participants will pay a standard registration fee. Please see the Registration page on the conference website for details.

Preparing Your Submission

Conference Presentation Formats
This year’s conference will include paper, poster, symposium, discussion hour and lightning presentations. Below are the guidelines for each submission type.

Paper Presentation
Paper presentations are 30 minutes in length. These are typically scheduled with complementary presentations. It is a good idea to organize your presentation with ample time at the conclusion for discussion (e.g. 20-minute presentation, 10-minute question and answer period).

Lightning Presentation
Lightning Presentations offer you an opportunity to present your work in front of other conference participants. The great thing about these presentations is that they are only 10 minutes long. A short and informative presentation is all that is required. These presentations focus on submissions of new or lightly researched program designs, and are offered to encourage the research community to get more involved with new and emerging program practices. Note: Single presenter Lightning Presentation proposals only. Group proposals will not be considered for Lightning Presentations.

Poster Presentation
Poster sessions provide an opportunity for in-depth conversation about the research conducted and the experiences of the investigators. Each presentation should include one full-size professional poster for display on a 4×6 poster board and easel (provided). Also provided will be a table upon which to place any handouts. When preparing the poster, easy to read tables and graphics are encouraged.

Discussion Hour
These hour-long topical or round-table discussions are intended to share information and insight on current trends and issues, and should include opportunities for considerable audience participation.

Symposia are 60- or 90-minutes in length. Each symposium is comprised of 2-3 presentations that address a single topic from different perspectives or discuss several components of a research project. A symposium and its presenters are introduced by the symposium Chair. The Discussant provides a brief, reflective summary of all presentations at the end of the symposium. It is suggested that the symposium is organized to include time for questions and answers after each oral presentation, or to devote more time at the conclusion of the symposium for discussion.

Submission Content Guidelines for Proposals
All proposals should include the following:

  • Presentation Type (from the drop-down menu)
  • Length of Presentation (from the drop-down menu)
  • Topic Area (chosen from the drop-down menu)
  • Presentation Title
  • 750-word maximum summary description for peer review. Note: The ideal summary will contain Introduction, Methodology, Findings, and Concluding Discussion sections. References should be in APA (American Psychological Association) format. Presentations should include references, and can be uploaded as a separate file in the documents section. References are not counted toward the 750-word summary limit.
  • 75-word maximum abstract for publication in the conference agenda
    • Note: Symposium submissions are allowed a 150 word maximum overall abstract and a 75 word maximum abstract for individual presentations within the symposium.
  • Tables, figures, and graphs relevant to the summary can be uploaded to the online application as separate files and do not count toward the abstract word limit.

If you have any issues with the online submission process please contact Scott Bryant-Comstock at via email at or phone at (919) 219-2342.