Tennessee to Participate in National Policy Academy Focused on Family Driven Care in Mental Health Services

Tuesday, February 03, 2009 | 03:53am

NASHVILLEThe Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities has been awarded the opportunity to have Tennesseans participate in the first ever Policy Academy sponsored by the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. 

 A Policy Academy is a model workshop designed to assist representatives from selected States in the development and implementation of certain initiatives to address a common public policy issue.

“Policy Academies are a catalyst for change,” stated TDMHDD Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts. “Tennessee’s participation in this Policy Academy will be a useful strategy for mobilizing Tennessee’s state policy towards family driven care in service delivery and in systems level decision making.”

Policy Academy applications are a competitive process and Tennessee is one of only six states to be chosen to attend. All expenses for the Academy are paid by the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.

Attendees include representatives from TDMHDD, the Governor’s Office on Children’s Care Coordination, TennCare, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Tennessee Voices for Children, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Tennessee Legislature, and parents. This Policy Academy provides the unique opportunity for parents of children with a mental health diagnosis to take part in developing statewide policies that will have a direct impact on the care of their children.

"This is a wonderful chance for families of children with mental health needs to be partners in the design and implementation of a transformed children's service system that will utilize the powerful voices and strengths of the youth and their families,” said Charlotte Bryson, Executive Director for Tennessee Voices for Children, the state Chapter of the Federation of Families.

The Policy Academy will further refine and enhance the work of the Council on Children’s Mental Health (Public Chapter 1062). This council is charged with developing a plan for a statewide system of care where children’s mental health services are child-centered, family-driven, and culturally and linguistically competent, and provides a coordinated system of care for children’s mental health needs in the state. 

Linda O’Neal, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth executive director and co-chair of the Council on Children’s Mental Health emphasized, “This Policy Academy provides an important learning and bonding opportunity for participants from the Council on Children’s Mental Health to learn best practices and innovative strategies to strengthen family voices in all aspects of the children’s mental health system in Tennessee.”

The areas of technical assistance selected by the Tennessee delegation are asset mapping, theories of change, designing approaches to attract buy-in from decision makers, Medicaid and other financing mechanisms, workforce development, and healthcare disparities.  Delegation members are focused on coming away with more information around these areas of technical assistance as well as learning from the experience of other states.

For additional mental health or substance abuse information, please contact TDMHDD’s Office of Communications at (615) 253-4812 or visit www.state.tn.us/mental


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