The Collaborative's Pulse
Newsletter for the State Collaborative
Winter 2020, Volume 1, Issue 5

Our Year in Review. As 2020 comes to a close, we reflect on how we have again relied on what is central to the State Collaborative during these uncertain times: true collaboration.

At the core of the State Collaborative (“the Collaborative”) is a system of care approach and this is what makes our organization unique. We provide a place where all have an equal voice, a collaborative spirit, a recognition that raising our voices together is more powerful than just one voice. We strive to work across silos and agendas in North Carolina. We are funded by proceeds from our training programs. Youth and family voice is at the heart of everything we do.

No doubt, the year 2020 has changed all of our lives. It has brought unexpected time for us to pause. It has been a painful and difficult year of loss for many. Where is there clarity for the way ahead?

Families need us now, more than ever. During 2020, we worked together to help children, youth, and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we turn the calendar to 2021, we will work with our members to raise our game and do whatever is necessary to keep the family voice central to meeting the needs of families. We will be guided by the system of care philosophies in all our endeavors.

In this last issue of our newsletter for 2020, we review the accomplishments of our subcommittees as we worked within the new reality of physical distancing. Our subcommittees are made up of Collaborative members who volunteer their time to promote programming that advances our overall Collaborative objectives.

Key highlights for the year included:

  • Hosted a Founder’s Day Panel with 11 people who started the State Collaborative almost 20 years ago;

  • Convened State Collaborative meetings twice a month, each including community and state subject matter experts engaging in dialogue on current issues affecting children, youth and families;

  • Organized and implemented four Regional Policy Institutes with Collaborative member organizations and North Carolina legislators to help stakeholders around the state to provide information and advocate with their legislators on issues impacting children, youth, and families;

  • Provided weekly updates on legislative discussions, actions and legislation in partnership with State Collaborative members;

  • Facilitated engaging youth and family voices as advisors and partners in legislative, policy-making, planning, monitoring, funding and training at state, regional, and community levels;

  • Organized and convened four Youth Expos with and for transition-age youth in the LME/MCO regional catchment areas;

  • Conducted an online membership survey to further understand and begin to meet the needs of our membership;

  • Effectively transitioned our Child and Family Team Trainer of Trainer (CFT TOT) training to a sustainable virtual format to meet the rising provider and community partner needs during the pandemic and beyond;

  • Reignited our School-Based Mental Health/Behavioral Health committee;

  • Launched The Collaborative’s Pulse, our new newsletter for members and stakeholders throughout the state. We also increased our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

At the end of 2020, we are left with a firmer resolve and understanding of how much we need each other. We will meet you back here “at the table” in 2021 and proceed with great HOPE as we continue to flexibly shift to new normals. Together. We know that with change and challenge comes the opportunity to evolve and transform programs, policies, and systems. 

We thank everyone for their continued help, support, and voice for joining together to meet our mission of positively impacting the outcomes of children, youth, and adults in North Carolina. Stay safe and healthy. Our very best to all and your families.
Hot Topics & Timely Resources
Thank you to all Collaborative members who provided articles and resources to include in this section.

Holidays can be stressful even without the isolation and anxiety caused by a pandemic. Click on the Topics below to see lists of articles and resources.

State Collaborative Social Media Topic Focus for Sept - Dec
  • Surviving the Holidays during COVID
  • Suicide Awareness & Prevention
  • Back to School Mental Health
  • Mental Health Awareness Month (October)
  • Native American Heritage Month (November)
  • Adoption Awareness Month (November)
  • Resilience, Hope .
2020 Subcommittee Accomplishments
As part of our Year in Review, we are highlighting the Accomplishments of our Collaborative Subcommittees. You can see the complete reports on our website.
Executive Committee

With the help of our subcommittees, the Collaborative has grown in its capacity and representation as a valuable resource throughout the state. Since the feedback from our strategic planning meeting last year, our Executive Committee has worked to become more attentive, inviting, and transparent in our actions. We have listened and become more supportive of our members. We have done this virtually since March.

We have worked on modeling the system of care values, and the importance of the system of care family and agency partnership. The work we do is done "on the backs" of all those who have contributed to the voice of the Collaborative over the years. One of the highlights of our Collaborative meetings this year was our Founder's Panel. Eleven people helped start the Collaborative almost twenty years ago. Numerous Co-Chairs have passed the baton that leads us to now.
Transition Age Youth (TAY)

The TAY subcommittee has been busy with a population that has been very affected by the pandemic. Ashley Bass Mitchell of Alliance Health and Lacy Flintall, Youth Transition Director of North Carolina Families United are Co-Chairs of the subcommittee.

The key highlight of the year was the four Youth Expos the TAY subcommittee planned and implemented in the following catchment areas: Alliance, Cardinal, Trillium, and Eastpointe. Topic discussions for the 14-24-year-olds included self-advocacy and community engagement, cultural awareness, mental health, financial literacy, and conflict resolution.

Of note, they also hosted a youth panel discussion at a Collaborative meeting and spoke at six local collaborative meetings. During the year, they presented to the Mental Health Block Grant Planning Council

The TAY committee meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month.
If you would like to be added to the TAY subcommittee mailing list:

The Training subcommittee is led by former State Collaborative Co-Chair, Joanne Scaturro and Teka Dempson of Alliance Health. The pandemic necessitated the State Collaborative’s Child & Family in-person trainings be moved to a virtual format. A technical assistant worked with the Co-Chairs to ensure the popular CFT-1 ” Trainer of the Trainer” training (TOT) would be trained to fidelity in a virtual setting. The subcommittee will be surveying current CFT-1 trainers to set a time to train participants in the virtual format. 

Taking into consideration that some people may be experiencing financial hardships because of the pandemic, CFT-1 online training will be offered at $22.50 instead of $45 through January 15, 2021. The North Carolina Collaborative Training Institute
( training(s) will be moving to the “Helping Hands” portal in early 2021. 

For information about trainings, please contact Joanne Scatturo at

The Training subcommittee meets the 2nd Friday of each month after the Collaborative meeting.
Marketing & Communications 

The Social Marketing subcommittee is now called the Marketing & Communications subcommittee. This broadens this subcommittee's mission to include looking after the Collaborative's brand, and forwarding more integrated, targeted messaging across multiple communications channels to form relationships with stakeholders. Family advocate Elizabeth Field and Renee Cordero of North Carolina Families United are Co-Chairs of the subcommittee.

The pandemic challenged us to find new ways for the Collaborative to communicate with its members and other stakeholders. Along with an active Facebook page, we are also posting regularly on Twitter. We are proud of our new newsletter, The Collaborative's Pulse, and hope to evolve its quarterly issues to be even more relevant in 2021.

The Marketing & Communications subcommittee also helps all subcommittees and the Executive Committee forward their projects and messaging as needed.
Next year will be focused more targeted messaging and stakeholder reach, and evaluation.
The Marketing and Communication Committee meets the first Thursday of each month.
School Based Mental Health 

The newly formed School Based Mental Health subcommittee is in the process of getting organized. Led by subcommittee Co-Chairs Pat Solomon and Bill Hussey, the subcommittee is developing goals and preparing to launch into action. They understand all too well the importance of the mental health and well being of all children, youth and families during these challenging pandemic times. Ultimately, the group intends to bring the family and community partner voice to state school mental health initiatives across the state. It is important to note that there are already programs ramping up around the state. Sharing information and collaborating will be essential. There has already been a lot of interest for the State Collaborative School Based Mental Health subcommittee. Presently, the list includes about 90 people across systems and disciplines. 

The School Based Mental Health subcommittee meets the second Friday of every month, after the State Collaborative meeting. 
There is room at the table for you at our subcommittees. You do not have to regularly attend our twice-a-month Friday State Collaborative meetings to be a member of these. Please consider adding your voice to one of our subcommittees below to help us "keep a finger on the pulse" of the most current issues that affect children, youth, and families across our state. Simply email one of the subcommittee co-chairs for more information.

State Collaborative Co-Chairs
(Family) Chandrika Brown,
(Agency) Ashley Bass Mitchell,

Mary Lloyd,
Sonja Frison,

Joanne Scatturo,

Transition Age Youth (TAY)
Ashley Bass Mitchell,
Lacy Flintall,

School-Based Mental Health
Pat Solomon,
Bill Hussey,

Policy & Research
Joanne Scaturro,

Marketing & Communication
Elizabeth Field,
Renee Cordero,

Membership and Sustainability 

Sonja Frison from UNCG / Center for Youth, Family & Community Partnerships, and Mary Lloyd are the Co-Chairs for the Membership subcommittee. A key 2020 accomplishment for the Membership subcommittee was the development and implementation of a membership survey. Click here for results for the survey.

The New Member Orientation is now updated on the Helping Hands Portal. The subcommittee hopes to reach out to Local Collaboratives with the New Member orientation PowerPoint presentation and matrix so that they can adapt it locally. A membership orientation letter has also been developed, along with a checklist for orienting new Membership subcommittee members. 

The Membership & Sustainability subcommittee typically meets the second Friday of each month before Collaborative meetings.
Policy & Research

The Policy & Research Work Group completed its second year with the help of i2i Center for Integrative Health. Stacy Justice, Associate Director of NC Families United and Joanne Scaturro, former Collaborative Agency Co-Chair formed the Work Group two years ago to ensure the family voice with policy makers and legislators in North Carolina. 

The key accomplishment of the Work Group for 2020 were a series of advocacy webinars which they developed and co-sponsored. The Regional Policy Institutes were attended by over 800 participants and were very well reviewed. Click here to read an evaluation of the Institutes.

"The four Regional Policy Institutes were developed using a system of care approach," shared Work Group Co-Chair Stacy Justiss.

Co-Chair Joanne Scaturro added, "Our longstanding Collaborative relationships allowed us to pull together a group of sponsors with overlapping missions to join together to highlight key issues relating to children, youth and families with legislators and stakeholders in North Carolina.

Sponsors of the Regional Policy Institutes with the State Collaborative included: Prevent Child Abuse NC, NC Child, i2i Center for Integrative Health, Foster Family Alliance, and MomsRIsing. Please see below what the sponsors said about their key takeaways form the events.

The Work Group also publishes a Weekly Legislative Update that includes opportunities for feedback.

During the year, members on the Work Group sat on the NC Child Well-Being Transformation Council. They also provided Medicaid Transformation recommendations to include Family Partner language. Early in the pandemic, they sent comments and recommendations to key leaders on addressing COVID-19.

The Policy & Research Work Group meets the last Tuesday of every month. 

CLICK HERE FOR Regional Policy Institute Recordings 2020 from the four Regional Policy Institutes on the Advocacy page of our Collaborative web site. Scroll to the Institute you would like to listen to and click the box (West, Central, Eastern, Triangle). Follow the directions to input your name and email address.
We asked each Regional Policy Institute sponsor two questions:
  • What were your Key Takeaways from the NC Regional Advocacy Institutes?
  • What are your Organization’s Mission and Priorities as they relate to children, youth and families?. 

Joanne Scaturro, MSW, Past Agency Co-Chair, Executive Committee, NC Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families
Key Takeaways from the NC Regional Advocacy Institutes? It is always energizing to work with our network of people who care about families and children and see the power of coming together for families and youth. It restored my hope in our democratic system to see legislators disagreeing without being contentious; the creative ways they are working with constituents and how gracious they were in participating with us to provide useful information.
Mission & Priorities as they relate to children, youth, and families? Through a System of Care framework, the NC Collaborative provides a forum for collaboration advocacy and action among families, public and private child and family-serving agencies, and community partners to improve outcomes for all children, youth, and families.
Our top priorities:
  • To ensure the family and youth voice at all levels of cross-system policy-making, committee work, and individual services
  • To establish cross-system authentic partnerships among agencies, families, and youth
  • To educate communities and policymakers about ways to provide a more accessible path to services for children, youth, and families, especially Medicaid transformation
Melea Rose-Waters, Policy Director, Prevent Child Abuse NC

Key Takeaways? The advocates for children, youth, and families across North Carolina are inspiring! We had originally planned to hold the Institutes in person, but with safety being a top priority we knew we had to change to an online format. We were able to create a space to share something bigger and more impactful than we had imagined. I hope the participants left feeling confident they could engage with their legislators and if they didn’t see themselves as advocates before the institutes that they did after. 

Mission & Priorities? Prevent Child Abuse of North Carolina ensures that prevention is a priority for North Carolina and all communities have the knowledge, support and resources to prevent child abuse and neglect. You can read about our policy priorities here.


Adam Sotak, MSW, Public Engagement Director, NC Child

Key Takeaways? We are stronger when we work together. We need to continue the collaboration that will impact public policy and hold elected officials accountable for their voting records related to children and families. 
Mission & Priorities? NC Child advances public policies to ensure that every child in North Carolina has the opportunity to thrive – whatever their race, ethnicity, or place of birth. Priority legislative issues include:
  • increasing funding for early childhood education;
  • Medicaid expansion;
  • oral health access for children.

Gaile Osborne, Board President, Foster Family Alliance North Carolina
Key Takeaways? Regardless of our political affiliation, we all came together for the better of advocating for children, youth, and families. We also found common ground with legislators, other organizations, and families. 
Mission & Priorities: Foster Family Alliance of NC advocates for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents across NC. We are supporting parents in the process of getting licensed while fostering/kinship and through the adoption process. We are resource parent-led and provide direct support to the parents.  

Ann Rodriguez, Assistant Director, i2i Center for Integrative Health

Key Takeaways? We were blown away by the level of participation! What a validation that people want to be involved in policy and legislation and want to make an impact. 

Every legislator was open to hearing different perspectives. That’s a key reminder to everyone that we play an important part in educating legislators and policy makers on issues that are relevant to children and their families. 

We loved the format of each institute because it showed the clear overlap of legislative and policy making efforts. In addition, the format allowed time to drill down to the direct connection between what happens in the legislature and State government and our daily lives.

Mission & Priorities? The i2i Center for Integrative Health is a neutral organization that convenes, strategizes and activates policy solutions to progress us toward whole person care. 
  • A key focus of ours is on the individuals and families who tap into health and human services through the NC public system. 
  • We work with organizations, individuals with lived experience and families to strengthen their advocacy skills so that they can impact policies and legislation early in their development.
  • We are focused on integrated care that moves us toward a whole person care approach, including the non-medical drivers that can improve outcomes in service delivery.
  • We support efforts to embed the value of a service into the incentive and reimbursement model and to incorporate the consumer and family perspective in defining the value of services.   

Beth Messersmith, Senior Campaign Director, MomsRising
Key Takeaways? 
  • The energy there is around advocating for NC's children: how many stakeholders there are from so many types of backgrounds, how many different types of organizations are doing this work all with different approaches but similar goals, the lawmakers who are committed to this work.
  • The multitude of ways people can get involved and the importance of listening to those most directly affected.

Mission & Priorities? MomsRising is a transformative, on-the-ground, and online multicultural organization of more than a million members and over a hundred aligned organizations working to increase family economic security, to end discrimination against women and mothers, and to build a nation where both businesses and families can thrive.
(Priority issues:)
  •  family-friendly workplace policies that reflect today's realities such as paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and pregnancy accommodations
  • access to affordable, high-quality equitable early learning and child care opportunities and a fairly compensated and supported early childhood workforce
  • a healthier, safer North Carolina where families have access to affordable, quality health care, nutrient-rich foods, and communities free from violence and the harmful impacts of mass incarceration and punitive immigration policies 

A Special Tribute to Mary Hooper, Executive Director, i2i Center for Integrative Health 

Thank you for all you have done so tirelessly and passionately to improve the lives of children, youth, and families throughout our state. You are and have been a true thought leader for working across silos and advocating for those at most risk to fall through the cracks of systems. 
“May the road rise to meet you. . . until we meet again.”
List of State Collaborative 2020 Presentations 

A special thanks to all our presenters for 2020. We truly appreciate your helping us keep the finger on the pulse of key issues affecting children, youth, and families in North Carolina.

  • Census 2020…What you need to know!, Shannon Huffman
  • Human Trafficking Training, Dean Dunkin & Nancy Hagan, Research Specialist / Chapel Hill of School Social work
  • Traumatic Brain Injury, Beth Callahan, Traumatic Brain Injury Care Coordinator / Alliance Behavioral Healthcare
  • Care Review, Wanda Douglas, CPSP NC Families United
  • Youth Panel Presentation 
  • Founding Mother’s & Father’s Panel 
  • Supporting PRIDE Month, Supporting Families and Youth of LGBTQ+, Chandrika Brown, Co-chair and her daughter, Jadda Jefferies
  • How do we discuss Racial & Ethnic Disparities in the Health & Mental Domains, Danette McCain / Center for Youth, Family and Community Partnerships, UNC Greensboro 
  • Medicaid Transformation Update, Mary Hooper & Ann Rodriguez / i2i Center for Integrative Health
  • Minority Mental Health, Curtis Brownlee, LCMHC & Miranda Peoples, LCMHC 
  • ECAC (Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center), Laura Weber, Executive Director / ECAC
  • Connecting with the Community Engagement & Empowerment Team – Kate Barrow & Stacy Hayward (Community Engagement Specialist) and Wes Rider
  • Youth with Incarcerated Parents, Melissa Radcliff, Program Director, Our Children’s Place of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc. 
  • Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), NC AWARE Pilot Site Directors and DPI Project AWARE Co-Director. Presenters: Heidi Austin, Teri Putnam, Dr. Stephanie Ellis; NC Department of Public Instruction, Cynthia Floyd & Pachovia Lovett
  • Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child: Data Drives the Work, Ellen Essick, Ph.D. Section Chief & Les Spell, MAEd Data and Policy Consultant
  • EC (Exceptional Child) Services for students within COVID-19, Lisa Taylor, Behavioral Specialist & Felicia Goodgion, Behavioral Support Consultant - DPI; Supporting Students with Disabilities from Exceptional Children Division, Behavior Supports
  • North Carolina Native American Heritage Presentation by Gregory A. Richardson, Executive Director / NC Commission of Indian Affairs, NC Department of Administration