Technical Assistance Network for Children’s Behavioral Health

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Division of Public Behavioral Health & Justice Policy, located in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the University of Washington School of Medicine, will be primary partners in the operations of two national Training and Technical Assistance Centers focused on children’s behavioral health and child welfare, and in the evaluation of the nation’s largest children’s mental health initiative ever conducted. All three awards were announced last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

First, a 5-year, $17 million cooperative agreement from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, was awarded to the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (HHSS280201300002C). The Institute will serve as the coordinating entity of the Technical Assistance Network for Children’s Behavioral Health (TA Network), the new national technical assistance center for States and communities funded by the federal Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program (Children’s Mental Health Initiative or CMHI). Launched in 1993, the CMHI represents the federal government’s largest investment in children’s behavioral health services and policy. Eric J. Bruns, Ph.D., Director of the National Wraparound Initiative and Wraparound Evaluation and Research Team, will serve as the Principal Investigator of the UW contract. The UW team will provide technical assistance, evaluation, and quality assurance support to funded States and communities to implement evidence-based integrated care coordination programs for children with complex needs and their families.

Second, a 5-year, $9 million Task Order agreement has been awarded to Westat to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the CMHI. The UW PBHJP has partnered with Westat to conduct the evaluation, which is leading a collaborative team with Principal Investigator Ana Maria Brannan, Ph.D., at Indiana University, and other key partners at George Mason University, the University of Maryland, the Federation of Families, Youth MOVE National, DMA Health Strategies, and Walter R. McDonald and Associates. Michael D. Pullmann, Ph.D., will serve as the Lead Quantitative Analyst and the Principal Investigator of the UW contract with Westat.

Third, a $5-million cooperative agreement (90CT7001-01-00) has been awarded to establish a new National Center on Evidence Based Treatment Services in Child Welfare to the Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The University of Washington is one of two partners, along with the University of Colorado’s Kempe Center. Suzanne E.U. Kerns, Ph.D., will serve as Principal Investigator of the UW contract, which also includes other UW faculty at the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress (Lucy Berliner, MSW) and the Department of Psychology (Shannon Dorsey, Ph.D.). Members of the UW team will provide instrumental assistance to the new National Center on curriculum development, implementation supports, and scientific evaluation.

The central role of UW PBHJP faculty and staff in these national projects is a testament to the many years of work and collaboration that members of the Division have devoted to research and implementation support in the field of child and adolescent behavioral health and child welfare. It also underscores the increasing national prominence of the Division, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Washington State Children’s Mental Health Evidence-Based Practice Institute in this arena.

For more information, please contact the faculty listed above (,, or Eric Trupin, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Public Behavioral Health & Justice Policy and the Evidence Based Practice Institute (