2019 CMHACY Awards

39th Annual CMHACY Conference

Annual Recognition Awards

Congratulations to our 2019 Awardees,
Melinda Bird & Dr. William Arroyo!

2019 Jim Preis Advocate of the Year Award

Melinda Bird, Disability Rights, California

Melinda Bird is Litigation Counsel for Disability Rights California. She has won more than a dozen reported state and federal decisions over her career but her most important cases were co-counseled with Jim Preis. She began working with Jim more than twenty-five years ago, when they met Elizabeth Quinones, a teen-ager who had spent more than half of her life in locked mental institutions and was afraid she would remain at Metropolitan State Hospital forever. Along with a team of dedicated attorneys, Jim and Melinda filed a lawsuit in federal court on Elizabeth’s behalf – Emily Q. v. Bonta – that eventually led to Medi-Cal coverage of Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS). Melinda and Jim also joined with other advocates to a file a sister case, Katie A. v. Bonta, which resulted in Medi-Cal coverage of wraparound services. Melinda continues to work on special education issues, improved services to youth with mental health needs in juvenile halls, and implementation of Katie A services in Los Angeles County. Most importantly, Elizabeth Quinones was finally able to leave the state hospital in 2003 and moved to an apartment in the community, using both TBS and supported living services.

2019 Policy/Legislative Leadership Award

Dr. William Arroyo, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (Recently Retired)

William Arroyo, M.D., is a former CMHACY Board member. He recently served as an Associate Medical Director of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH). He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Keck USC School of Medicine. He has represented Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and other mental health organizations in program and policy development relevant to mental health at County, State and national levels. He has served on several boards and national advisory bodies including: California Children’s Medi-Cal Health Advisory Panel (advising State on Medicaid Programs for Children); the California (Prison) Rehabilitation Oversight Board; the State Commission on Juvenile Justice; as an (Alternate) Commissioner of First 5 LA; County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Task Force on Eliminating Mental Health Disparities; AIDS Healthcare Foundation; and children’s mental health research and training centers at Portland State University, Georgetown University and University of South Florida. He provided leadership to a early childhood mental health programs in L.A. He has recently served on an advisory panel to U.S. Department of Homeland Security in regard to family detention facilities. He has served as president of the California Psychiatric Association and the California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He has, also, provided national leadership on juvenile justice reform. He has been honored for his advocacy efforts by both state and national organizations. He has publications in areas of juvenile justice, culture issues, schools, and trauma.

2019 CMHACY Award Nominations

Nominations are now closed! 

The CMHACY Board and Friends would value your help in identifying nominees for the awards presented at our annual conference.

Each year California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth (CMHACY) singles out and highlights the efforts of stakeholders who have made a significant contribution in advancing mental wellness for California’s children and youth. These brief moments of celebration serve to remind us that ongoing efforts to improving the lives of children, youth and families/caregivers do not go unnoticed. The awards shine a light on recipients while they are among their peers and colleagues. Three separate achievement awards will be presented at the conference in May 2019:

Innovative Program Award

One of the primary goals of the CMHACY conference has been peer-to-peer dissemination of promising practices, culturally specific programs, youth/family focused in nature, with measurable results that can be replicated in other locations throughout the State. Nominations in this category can include new programs or programs that adapt state or national models to specific communities, broaden service populations, or improve outcomes with the addition of new partners. The scope is very wide.

Policy/Legislative Leadership Award

Improvements in public child/family mental health at the local and state levels does not happen without the efforts of a champion or leader. This category seeks to identify a colleague(s) who has seized upon opportunities to build something bigger, something better – either as a pilot program or through legislation or regulatory changes – and who is undaunted by competing priorities and/or funding and authority conflicts. CMHACY has granted this award to legislators, legislative aides, Boards of Supervisors, personnel from county and state offices, private providers and parent advocates.

The Jim Preis Advocate of the Year Award

In October of 2018, CMHACY lost Jim Preis to cancer — a former CMHACY Board member, Friend, frequent workshop presenter and moderator of our Friday Policy Panels. Jim was legendary In the children’s mental health movement in California and across the nation. Through his big battles, little skirmishes, productive collaborations, and persistent refusals to accept injustices, we witnessed decades of Jim’s undaunting and collegial efforts to improve the lives of Californians.

As Executive Director of Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc. in Los Angeles Jim dedicated his work and his life to improving access to and services/supports for people with mental health and emotional challenges. Jim’s impact was huge in the children’s mental health movement exemplified by his role as lead attorney on the lawsuit that in California expanded EPSTD to include mental health services.

In honor of his many contributions the CMHACY Board has dedicated the Advocate of the Year award to Jim. By renaming the award in his honor, it will serve as an annual reminder of the extraordinary deeds that we can accomplish working together, and the incredible individual work he took on across his decades of service. CMHACY will honor his memory by recognizing an individual who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of children, youth and families and who shares the values and commitment to service that Jim stood for and for which he fought.

Please contact Cecily Hendricks, 2019 CMHACY Conference Coordinator at
Info@CMHACY.org or (831) 200-3679.