CalSWEC Offers Recommendations as Behavioral Health System Undergoes Restructuring

CalSWEC provided recommendations for workforce development to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to restructure California’s behavioral health system. Executive Director John Cullen offered his testimony before the Joint Oversight Hearing of the Assembly and Senate Health Committees and their respective Budget Subcommittees in Sacramento on February 21.

Restructuring involves:

The purpose of the hearing was for the DHCS to discuss its plans for restructuring the two departments and for the committees to receive testimony from stakeholders in behavioral health services about the challenges and potential benefits of the consolidation.  

CalSWEC's Recommendations
Mr. Cullen’s testimony included the following recommendations:

  • All the statewide Workforce Education and Training (WET)-funded contractors should be invited to meet together with the designated agency in the near future to share ideas and strategies regarding workforce development for behavioral health agencies. 
    The behavioral health landscape is changing quickly, driven by integration of mental health and substance use services; requirements of health reform for integration of mental health, substance use, and primary care services; better knowledge of evidence-based practice models; and the recent Katie A. settlement requiring much closer collaboration between child welfare agencies and mental health providers to serve foster children and adolescents with mental health conditions. Social workers and other staff from different disciplines will be the “engines” for these massive systems changes, and all CalSWEC schools need to collaborate in the development of new curricula that they can implement effectively. 

Restructure Plan Implemented
The restructure plan was fully implemented on July 1, 2012.  The CalSWEC interagency agreement with the DMH for stipend and program support has been reassigned to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD).

Mr. Cullen and CalSWEC Mental Health Program Director Gwen Foster have met with OSHPD officials and will continue to be actively involved in this groundbreaking shift of resources and oversight of statewide programs.