The Crisis and Recovery Enhancement (CARE) Technical Assistance (TA) Center works to strengthen criminal justice diversion efforts and the crisis care continuum to help all Californians access appropriate wraparound services and supports. The CARE TA Center provides training, TA, and resources to improve behavioral health care coordination for a flexible and seamless care delivery system. This newsletter provides information about CARE TA Center activities, resources, and no-cost learning opportunities; highlights the work of California’s 58 MHSA-funded Counties to elevate innovative and evidence-based practices; and reinforces a systemic approach to the crisis continuum of care and justice diversion across California. The views expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the California Department of Health Care Services or any other entity.
In This Issue...

  • Get to Know Us: Our CARE TA Center Staff and Partners
  • We Want to Hear from You: Needs Assessment and California County Corner
  • Peer Specialist Certification - A Reason to Celebrate California in 2020
  • Upcoming No Cost Training: Motivational Interviewing, 11/6/20 and 11/13/20 
  • CARE TA Center Resource Library: What We Offer and How to Share Your Work
  • CARE TA Request Process
Get to Know Us!
The Crisis and Recovery Enhancement (CARE) Technical Assistance (TA) Center is a cross-agency team from the fields of mental health; training and technical assistance; crisis response and recovery; criminal justice diversion; and wraparound supports for youth and adults at greater risk of mental health crisis, including people experiencing homelessness.

The CARE TA Center is led by the Center for Applied Research Solutions (CARS) in partnership with RI International, NAMI California, C4 Innovations, Impact Justice, and Stanford Sierra Youth & Families. This project is funded by Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), and administered by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Community Services Division.
CARS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has supported California’s mental and behavioral health workforce since 2001 through trainings and technical assistance (TA) rooted in innovative, research-based, and culturally responsive best practices. CARS leads national, state, and local TA centers for initiatives in mental health, substance abuse prevention, and trauma-informed crisis response. CARS’ projects include leadership of five SAMHSA-funded TA centers to support the mental health of the nation’s children, youth, transition-age young adults, and families, as well as schools and communities after crisis.

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RI International is a global organization with more than 50 programs in the U.S. and abroad. RI’s leadership—along with other members of the Crisis Services Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance)—created the Crisis Now concept. RI’s Crisis programs are located in Arizona, California, Delaware, Texas, and Washington State. All of RI’s facilities follow the Crisis Now principles and practices, including: recovery orientation, trauma-informed care, peer staff, Zero Suicide/Suicide Safer Care, safety for consumers and staff, and collaboration with law enforcement.

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NAMI California is a grassroots organization of families and individuals whose lives have been affected by serious mental illness. NAMI California has 62 local affiliates and represents 19,000 people to the California Legislature and Governor on mental illness issues. The organization provides leadership in advocacy, legislation, policy development, education, and support throughout California. Their work supports a strong, coherent system that offers a continuum of care for the persistent, long-term needs of people with mental illness.

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C4 Innovations develops and implements approaches that advance person-centered care, support recovery and stable housing, achieve health and wellness, and effect lasting social change. More than 45% of C4 Innovations staff is in recovery from substance use and mental health disorders, homelessness, and trauma. Many more are family members and allies of people in recovery as well as clinicians, practitioners, and leaders. Their work spans the continuum from prevention and early intervention strategies to housing solutions and recovery supports—all with a focus on transforming lives, systems, and communities.

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Impact Justice is a national innovation and research center committed to fostering a more humane, responsive, and restorative system of justice in our nation. Impact Justice harnesses innovation, research, and policy ideas toward three goals: preventing more youth and adults from becoming involved in the justice system; improving conditions that ensure humanity and hope for those currently incarcerated; and helping formerly incarcerated people to successfully rejoin their communities. Impact Justice understands that the struggle for justice takes place in a context of historic, systemic, and pervasive racism.

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Stanford Youth Solutions has merged with Sierra Forever Families to become Stanford Sierra Youth & Families. Stanford Sierra Youth & Families empowers youth and families to solve serious challenges that threaten their ability to stay together. They provide intensive, individualized programs that are research-based and effective for young people and families in difficult circumstances. The merged organization has proudly served the community for a combined total of 150 years, currently serving 4,500 youth and their families throughout Northern California.

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We'd Like to Hear from You!

Have you shared your feedback on our Needs Assessment yet? We’re looking for your thoughts and perspective on what types of training and resources would be most helpful for the field. The Needs Assessment only takes 4 minutes to complete, and your feedback will shape the direction of the CARE TA Center. Participants can enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card! 
California County Corner: Highlighting Promising Practices

Across California’s 58 MHSA-funded county programs, tremendous work is being done on the crisis continuum of care and justice diversion. There is great diversity in the availability, implementation, and evaluation of crisis care continuum services like mobile crisis units, employment of peer specialists, and engagement of people who are homeless into mental health services. The CARE TA Center would like to showcase innovative processes, practices, and systems within and across California’s counties. If you would like your work to be highlighted in our CARE TA Center Newsletter’s California County Corner, please email the CARE TA Center Project Manager
Peer Certification - A Reason to Celebrate California in 2020
By CARE TA Center Director Heliana Ramirez, PhD, LISW

On September 25, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 803, enabling California to join 48 other states with Peer Certification standards of training, scopes of practice, supervision, and billing procedures. This was a hard-won accomplishment that spanned many years of advocacy, including three years of Senator Beall (San Jose) proposing the bill, with mental health consumers at the forefront of the movement from its inception including SB803 co-sponsor Sally Zinman, the Executive Director of California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO) and Keris Jän Myrick, Chief of Peer and Allied Health Professions at County of Los Angeles, Department of Mental Health.  

Research demonstrates what mental health consumers and advocates know well from lived experience: that mental health services provided by peer specialists are cost effective and offer unique benefits to client engagement. The value of peer specialists’ contributions to the crisis continuum of care cannot be overstated. In addition to saving tax dollars, peer specialists also provide the immeasurable value of hope for mental health recovery among consumers while also destigmatizing mental health issues among providers, lawmakers, and the general public. Peer specialists’ personal stories of strength and resilience defy stereotypes by providing an alternative representation of people living with mental health challenges. Contrary to the most visible and oft cited images of consumers in moments of crisis, dependence, and institutionalization, peer specialists make visible the possibility of stabilization through symptom management, independence, community integration, and the reality that people with lived experience enrich society with their vast talents and distinct contributions. 

With SB803, California counties have access to millions of federal dollars earmarked for peer specialist services. The bill’s author, Senator Beall, states that “Our coalition of advocates and bi-partisan supporters rallied for Peer Support for years. It’s time to celebrate our progress and the next generation by continuing to advocate for mental health at the State level… and yes, third time’s a charm!” Considering the increasing strain of COVID-19, shelter-in-place orders, and an economic recession, certification of the Peer Specialist workforce is critical. “At a time when millions of Californians feel isolated and anxious,” Keris Jän Myrick notes that SB803 “will help us scale up the workforce of certified peer support specialists to address our deepening mental health crisis.” The CARE TA Center joins the state of California in celebrating this momentous achievement, which was made possible by Senator Beall’s legislative leadership and the tireless efforts of mental health consumers and advocates who know that recovery is possible. Peer specialists powerfully illustrate that lived experience with both mental health challenges and systems of care can be invaluable in contributing to the wellness of others.
Motivational Interviewing
We are excited to share our upcoming two-part virtual training on Motivational Interviewing! This training is intended for the entire mental health workforce, including peer specialists, social workers, psychologists, counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses.

Dates: 11/6/20, 2-4 p.m. and 11/13/20, 2-4 p.m.

For registration, please click associated links. This training series is provided at no cost; however, an optional four CEUs are available for a $25 processing fee.

Session 1 Overview:
All too often, providers struggle with approach when trying to engage clients around meaningful change. This can leave providers feeling frustrated and clients feeling invalidated. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based method of collaborative communication to facilitate meaningful behavior change. In this webinar session, we will review the fundamentals of MI and discuss its core values, strategies, and skills. We will learn how to use MI techniques with clients to enhance engagement, motivation, and action towards reaching targeted behavior goals or changes. Additionally, we will explore the use of MI as it relates to the crisis continuum, especially in the context of behavior de-escalation and suicide prevention.

• • • • •

Session 2 Overview:
The skills of good listening and accurate empathy are paramount to Motivational Interviewing. In this webinar session, we will break into small groups to apply MI principles and techniques that strengthen our empathic counseling skills. We will discuss real-life scenarios as related to the fundamental client language cues (change talk and resistance) that allow for ongoing feedback and learning in practice.

Meet the Trainer

Christina Wade, LCSW is certified in Motivational Interviewing/Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MI/MET), with a clinical range of experience including justice-involvement, addiction, suicide prevention, crisis management, and homelessness. Christina earned her MSW from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006 while working concurrently as the Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for Social Work Research. She began her career at the University of California, San Diego, working as the Senior Clinical Social Worker for pre-release services in various California State Prisons. In 2010, she accepted a position working directly for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), specifically San Quentin State Prison. Christina worked a total of 6 years in the California Penal System. While employed at San Quentin, Christina earned her LCSW. In 2012, she transitioned to the Veterans Affairs (VA) Palo Alto Healthcare System as the forensic expert for Addiction Treatment Services, working with Veterans suffering from addiction, PTSD, and mood disorders. In 2014, she transitioned to supervising within emergency services at the University of California (UC) working out of San Francisco General Hospital. Christina left the UC to work as the East Bay Suicide Prevention Coordinator for VA Northern California Healthcare System, before taking on her current role as Sr. Program Analyst for the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for VA Suicide Prevention.
The Resource Library is growing! Here’s the link for you to check it out yourself: The Resource Library aims to help you find resources and tools to advance your behavioral health care coordination, criminal justice diversion, and crisis care continuum efforts. If you have created a resource that you would like considered for inclusion in the CARE TA Resource Library, please send it to Program Manager Tiara Peterkin, LCSW, at

We are happy to announce that we are officially accepting Training and Technical Assistance requests from the field! CARE TA Center team members and subject-matter experts provide trainings and direct 1:1 consultation on a variety of topics related to strengthening behavioral health care coordination, criminal justice diversion efforts, and the crisis care continuum. Submit your request now and we’ll get back to you within four days. Here’s the link:
We look forward to connecting with you and bringing you fresh new updates in our next quarterly newsletter!
Contact the Crisis and Recovery Enhancement TA Center
Toll-Free: (888)-550-6155  Email: 
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