39th Annual CMHACY Conference

Shaping our Communities:

Compassion, Engagement, Collective Impact

Wednesday, May 15 – Friday, May 17, 2019

Join Us!

The CMHACY conference is California’s premier event for all those interested in learning about, advocating for and promoting policies, programs and practices that enhance the well-being of vulnerable children, youth and families.

Since 1980 our conference has offered a forum for policy development, spawned collaboration and partnerships among counties and providers, incubated state-wide parent and youth organizations, hosted nationally recognized speakers, and showcased cutting-edge programs and clinical advances. The conference’s unique, “rustic” culture encourages informal interaction among consumers, providers, policy makers and advocates.

View the detailed pre-conference/conference agenda & create your own conference schedule by viewing or downloading the Guidebook App at the link below.


Tuesday, May 14th

12:00 PM - Registration Open for Pre-Conference Attendees

2:00-5:00 PM - Parent Pre-Conference, Fred Farr
2:00-5:00 PM - Youth Pre-Conference, Heather

Wednesday, May 15th

8 AM - Registration Open

8:30 AM-12:00 PM - Cross System TAY Coordinators/Mentors Pre-Conference, Nautilus

8:30 AM-12:00 PM - Parent Pre-Conference, Fred Farr

8:30 AM-12:00 PM - Provider/Agency Pre-Conference, Merrill Hall

8:30 AM-12:00 PM - Youth Pre-Conference, Heather

9:00 AM-12:00 PM - Education Pre-Conference, Scripps

Members of the County Behavioral Health Directors’ Association of California’s (CBHDA) Children’s System of Care (CSOC) Committee will hold their monthly meeting at CMHACY. The meeting will take place on May 15th, 12:15 pm – 1:30 pm at the Woodlands North Dining Room. 

If you have purchased a meal-plan with Asilomar, there is no cost. If you are staying off-grounds and have no meal plan at Asilomar, please pay the $25 lunch fee online, or bring a check for $25.

All attendees must RSVP HERE.

Materials for the meeting will be e-mailed to the committee prior to the meeting, materials will be printed by CBHDA. If you have any questions about the lunch please contact Cecily Hendricks at Info@CMHACY.org. If you have questions about the CBHDA CSOC Meeting please contact Heather Anders at handers@cbhda.org.

2PM—Conference Opens
2:15PM—Helping People Heal in their CommunitiesRaul Almazar, Senior Public Health AdvisorNASMHPD’s Center for Innovations in Trauma-Informed Approaches

Most of us and the people we serve live in communities filled with strife and suffering from inequities and disparities. Trauma-informed and trauma responsive approaches help people heal from the effects of trauma, build resilience as well as address preventive measures to mitigate childhood adversity. This session will highlight what many communities across the country are doing to help their communities heal and become resilient.

To learn more about Raul, please read his Bio here.

3:30PM—Youth & Parent Panel

  • Karli Joes, Youth, Stanford You Solutions
  • Jenna Walkingstick, Youth, River Oak Center for Children
  • Jennifer Heck, Parent, Stanford Youth Solutions
  • Thomisha Wallace, Youth Moderator, Stanford Youth Solutions
  • Laura Stillmunkes, Parent Moderator, Capital Adoptive Families Alliance

This panel presentation will represent the thoughts and ideas of both youth and parents on gaps in service during childhood life transitions. For example, when a young toddler, just turning 3, transitions from home, or from an Early Start Program, into a pre-school program. There may be gaps if the toddler is displaying behavioral difficulties. There are gaps in supports for a 5 year old that is not ready to enter kindergarten, or when a transition age youth, sixteen to twenty-four, is no longer receiving children’s services but has not yet entered the adult system. Parents and youth will discuss how these gaps in services during transitions affect them, and ideas they have to mitigate the gaps in service.

5:30PM—Welcome Dinner – SOLD OUT!
7:00PM—Gift Card Raffle: Two $100 Amazon Gift Cards, Merrill Hall

Arrive on time (7:00PM sharp!) for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Visit our sponsors in the Surf and Sand meeting room to receive an additional raffle ticket to win another $100 Amazon gift card Wednesday at 7PM in Merrill Hall!

7:10PM—2019 CMHACY Awards, Merrill Hall

Jim Preis Advocate of the Year Awardee

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.

7:15PM—Caring for Our Collective Circle of Wellness, Merrill Hall

Dr. Jaiya JohnSoul Water Rising

Dr. Jaiya John’s compassionate keynote message encourages us to reflect on how our own wellness as practitioners and systems relates to our capacity to support and serve the wellness of our youth. This is a heart and soul message of renewal, empowerment, healing, and hopefulness.

To learn more about Dr. Jaiya, please read his Bio here.

8:30 PM – Wine and Cheese Reception and Poster Session, Fred Farr

A reception for attendees to meet the speakers, other conference participants, and view our poster presentations.

Thursday, May 16th

8:30AM—Gift Card Raffle: Two $100 Amazon Gift Cards, Merrill Hall

Arrive on time (8:30AM sharp!) for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Visit our sponsors in the Surf and Sand meeting room on Wednesday to receive an additional raffle ticket to win another $100 Amazon gift card Thursday morning!

8:45AM—2019 CMHACY Awards, Merrill Hall

Policy/Legislative Leadership Awardee

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.

9:00AM—Mapping the School to Prison Pipeline, Merrill Hall

Tia Martinez, Principal
Forward Change Consulting

This presentation situates the current predominance of zero-tolerance school discipline in its historical context and identifies how the excessive use of exclusionary punishment in recent decades has triggered a cascade of system-driven negative feedback loops that channel young males into the prison system.  Moreover, the presentation shows how the school-to-prison pipeline anchors an intergenerational negative feedback loop that disproportionately channels the sons of incarcerated men into the prison pipeline as well.  The presentation concludes by identifying intervention points and approaches to disrupting the negative feedback loops that comprise the school-to-prison pipeline.

To learn more about Tia, please read her Bio here.

10:30AM-5:00PM—3 Sessions of Simultaneous Workshops

There will be three sessions of workshops, running from 10:30 am to noon; 1:30 to 3:00 pm; and 3:30 to 5 pm. View the workshop descriptions below.

Workshop Descriptions

8:00PM-10:00PM—“Under the Sea” Dance in Merrill Hall

All are invited! Come to Merrill Hall for dancing, good food, and a fun time! Come join the fun and make new friends. Enjoy our photo booth, awesome DJ and lots of snacks. There will amazing Raffle prizes too!

Friday, May 17th

8:30AM—Gift Card Raffle: $100 Amazon Gift Card, Merrill Hall

Arrive on time (8:30AM sharp!) for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

8:35AM—Welcome: CMHACY Executive Team, Merrill Hall

8:40AM—National Landscape of Addiction and
Mental Health Services, Merrill Hall

Dr. Elinore (Ellie) McCance-Katz
Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

Dr. McCance-Katz will share highlights of the work underway within The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), focusing upon the opportunities for communities to successfully address the many challenges of youth substance misuse and abuse.

9:25AM—5 minute break

9:30AM—What Young People and Families Want and Need: Brief Perspectives From Those Who Have Been There, Merrill Hall


  • Tia Martinez, Forward Change Consulting
  • Jaycia Diamond & Jakaela Foster, Community Works
  • Lori Litel, United Parents

9:50AM—The California Children’s Trust: A Movement to Reimagine and Reinvent Children’s Behavioral Health, Merrill Hall

Alex Briscoe, Principal
California Children’s Trust

Dr. Rhea Boyd, Director of Equity & Justice
California Children’s Trust

10:15AM—The California Landscape for Reform, Merrill Hall

Sandra Hernandez, MD, CEO
California Health Care Foundation

11:00AM—Panel Discussion “The Critique—Is it the solution? What Would a System that Worked Look Like?” Merrill Hall


  • Alex Briscoe
  • Dr. Rhea Boyd


  • Tia Martinez
  • Sandra Hernandez
  • Jakaela Foster
  • Jaycia Diamond
  • Kristin Wright
  • Lori Litel

11:45AM—Close: CMHACY Executive Team, Merrill Hall

11:55AM—GRAND Prize Gift Card Raffle Giveaway: $500 Amazon Gift Card, Merrill HallYou must arrive at 8:30AM to get a ticket and be present at the end of the Friday session to win the grand prize!

12:00PM—Conference Ends


Attendees must use this link to get the hotel room package that includes meals as well as the special conference registration rate.


Coming soon!