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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

January 11, 2024


Unique Center Offers Free-of-Charge Training for Behavioral Health Care Providers to Implement Evidence-Based Practices; Improve Services for Children and Families

The New York State Office of Mental Health today announced a new training center dedicated helping behavioral healthcare providers implement evidence-based practices free of charge so they can offer improved services to children and their families. Supported with a $4.3 million investment of state funding, the Center for Workforce Excellence will bring evidence-based behavioral health training and technical assistance to eligible community-based organizations serving youth and families, which will help reduce disparities for people served by smaller providers, such as in rural areas.

“Given the cost of training and certification, implementing the best evidenced-based strategies for behavioral health care can be a costly endeavor for community-based organizations and can be difficult for them to achieve financially,” Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said. “The Center for Workforce Excellence will support this training for eligible service providers, allowing these organizations to stay certified and up to date on the best evidence-based practices available to engage families and youth.”

Operated by New York University’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, the Center will help raise the overall level of expertise for clinicians serving youth and families across a range of practices. The center will provide support and training activities for providers –including evidence-based practice certification, data management and evaluation –and improving the ability of clinicians to effectively diagnose children at an earlier age so they can receive appropriate services.

“It is critical that behavioral health practitioners are given every available tool available to provide the best possible care for children and families,” said Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, dean of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. “The center will help keep our community of providers and clinicians informed about the best practices available, ensuring their clients receive the help they need to live fuller, richer lives.”

The training provided by the center is available free of charge to providers through an application process. Curriculum is advertised to providers and is available free of charge based on meeting eligibility for individual credentialing processes.

Training courses include Parent-Child Interaction therapy, which utilizes play to facilitate healthy interaction between parents and young children. This therapy also decreases disruptive behaviors in young children while fostering prosocial behaviors.

The Center is also providing Training for Functional Family Therapy, a new prevention and intervention program for at-risk youth to address a range of concerns – from emotional and behavioral issues, violence, drug abuse, gang involvement and family conflicts. The goal is to improve family interactions and provide services to support youth who are at-risk of out of home care, or involvement in the criminal justice or child welfare systems.

Certifying these evidence-based practices these practices can be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive, meaning many community-based organizations are unable provide these therapists. The center provides this training and certification free of charge, in addition to providing ongoing support.

“The Center is the latest demonstration of the outstanding relationship between the NYU McSilver Institute and the Office of Mental Health,” NYU McSilver Institute Executive Director Rose Pierre-Louis said. “Through this initiative, we will help set the bar for behavioral health service in New York State even higher by leveraging McSilver’s vast technical assistance know-how to bring evidence-based training and results to New York’s most in-need families and children.”

“The center will provide an invaluable opportunity for our clinicians working on behalf of New York families across the state,” NYU McSilver Institute Deputy Executive Director Dr. Andrew Cleek. “The evidence-based skills and training we develop will translate to direct improvements in the lives of clients. This is an investment not only in a program, but in individuals, families, and communities. McSilver is proud of its work with OMH and is excited about the opportunities that lay ahead.”



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