Photo of the exterior of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Mandel School’s Center for Innovative Practices at CWRU named Ohio’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health ‘Center of Excellence’

New initiative supporting children’s behavioral health programs to be part of  university’s Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education

A new, multi-million-dollar statewide effort to transform adolescent behavioral health programs and agencies will be housed at Case Western Reserve University.

The State of Ohio approved a two-year, $3.6 million contract to coordinate a new statewide Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health “Center of Excellence” in a partnership with the university’s Center for Innovative Practices (CIP) at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

The state’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health “Center of Excellence” will oversee a new standardized assessment process, monitor the continued effectiveness of services and expand service and care coordination for an estimated 58,000 children statewide each year.

“We’re looking forward to increasing collaboration across the systems of care, and we’re prepared to expand the availability of evidence-based practices and services where they are most needed,” said Richard Shepler, director of CIP, a training and technical assistance center within the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education.

Richard Shepler
Richard Shepler

“We’re eager to engage in meaningful systemic change to increase the equity of service delivery and support systems,” he said. “This is neither light nor quick work, but the culmination of many people recognizing the great need across Ohio.”

For 20 years, CIP has provided support to community-based behavioral health providers in implementing evidence-based and evidence-supported treatments for youth and families, said Bobbi Beale, a senior consultant and trainer at the CIP.

“The increased implementation of these practices—while evaluating impacts and outcomes to ensure best practice—will provide constant feedback to further develop sustainable, cost-effective policy and ensure that children and families get the high-quality services they need and deserve,” Beale said.

The state’s center will offer training and technology and administrative services, including increased access to government support through telehealth. Beale said the work will involve many existing staff and faculty at the Begun Center—and likely some new additions.

Statewide collaboration

State officials said in an announcement that the state’s new Center of Excellence will also bolster Ohio’s ongoing efforts to improve the system, which have included:

  • Expanding the range of behavioral health care to better serve youth and families;
  • Implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First), including developing a tiered treatment foster-care model and statewide foster and adoptive parent-recruitment efforts; and
  • Developing OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence)—a specialized managed-care organization providing services for the most complex family situations.

“Securing this major grant from the state is a recognition of the capabilities of the principles in the Begun Center to carry out the work successfully,” said Mandel School Dean Grover Gilmore. “The judgment by Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is based not only on the substance of the application submitted, but very importantly on the work that the Begun Center has been doing for a number of years.”

For more information, contact Colin McEwen at