The Collaborative's Pulse
Newsletter for the State Collaborative
September 2020, Volume 1, Issue 4
Regional Policy Institutes: Raising the Child, Youth and Family Voice

Together, we celebrate the partnerships that strengthen our resolve to effectively educate communities about the needs of children, youth and families.

During these trying times, the State Collaborative has risen to the challenge of continuing to prioritize the child, youth and family voice. Just last week, our Policy & Research work group partnered with Prevent Child Abuse, NC; the Foster Family Alliance; MomsRising; NC Child; and i2i Center for Integrated Health for the first of our four Virtual Regional Policy Institutes in the Western area of the State.

Over 180 participants enjoyed the Keynotes from William Lassiter, Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice, and Advocacy 101 with NC Child's Adam Sotak. Transition age youth, Joseph Bridges and his parents joined to talk about his successful journey from a YDC (Youth Detention Center) to employment and independent living.

Melea Rose Waters and Adam Sotak expertly facilitated a panel with North Carolina Representative Terry Van Duyn and Senator Sarah Stevens. What stood out to participants was the graciousness displayed despite differences of opinion. The questions collected by our committee from the Collaborative members centered around Medicaid transformation, paid family leave, school based mental health and accessing services during the pandemic. In their summations, Melea Rose Waters and Adam Sotak spoke about the fact that while we may have different opinions about HOW to support families, we all have the intention of making the world a better place for children.

Reactions to our first Institute were heartening. We learned that participants were touched by the lack of contentiousness and respect displayed during the entire institute. We learned that advocacy is about education and hope. Hope that we find solutions for the future for children and families by partnering and working through differences. 

We all need that hope as we join hands and face the future.

Joanne Scaturro, MSW and Stacy Justiss
Co-Chairs of the Policy & Research work group of the State Collaborative

See quotes from Institute attendees in our Subcommittee & Work Group Updates section below.
Hot Topics & Timely Resources
September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Month
Resource spotlight: NCFASD Informed, Inc.

NCFASD Informed is a grassroots 501c3 nonprofit organization helping to improve the outcomes of those impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in North Carolina. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a neurodevelopmental disability. It is a spectrum disorder which can occur when a woman drinks alcohol while pregnant. It is more prevalent than autism, cerebral palsy, and Down's syndrome.

Unfortunately, awareness of FASD in health care, school, criminal justice, and counselling communities is limited. Misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses are negatively impacting outcomes for scores of children and their families across all systems in North Carolina.

Creating FASD informed Communities Across North Carolina
Since its inception three years ago, NCFASD Informed has been learning about how to best build FASD informed communities in North Carolina. We asked Dr. Kathy Hotelling, co-founder and Board Chair of NCFASD Informed, to distill the key issues which stakeholders should be most aware of about FASD. Click here for what Dr. Hotelling shared with us as a simple guide for key stakeholders around North Carolina.

A Family Impacted by FASD
Ms. Theresa Morris-Brown is the mother of a 29-year old son who was not diagnosed with FASD until recently. North Carolina Health News (see in Other FASD Resources below) wrote an article on her struggle to get help at school, in the community and in the prison system for her son, entitled, "Does North Carolina do enough to help children affected by a mom's prenatal alcohol use?"

We asked Theresa if she could reflect and offer advice to other parents from her lived experience. Read more as Theresa stands back and provides perspective to other families impacted by FASD.

Other FASD Resources

  • 2020 FASD Podcast series:

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Suicide Prevention Resources

  • The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) has compiled a selection of web pages and information sheets on mental health and coping with the effects of COVID-19:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Hope4NC and Hope4Healers

NCDHHS has established two mental health resources to help North Carolinians cope and build resilience during times of crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic:

Hope4NC Help line: 1-855-587-3463

  • Available to everyone in North Carolina’s 100 counties during the COVID-19 crisis - 24 hours a day/seven days a week

  • Includes a provides immediate crisis counseling services to individuals affected by the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis

  • With all seven of the state’s LME/MCOs and REAL Crisis Intervention Inc. in Greenville, Hope4NC is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to speak to a live person

Hope4Healers Helpline: 919-226-2002

  • A new initiative for front line workers who work in health care settings in partnership with the North Carolina Psychological Foundation

  • Provides mental health and resilience supports for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings and their families throughout the state who are experiencing stress from being on the front lines of the state’s COVID-19 response

  • Available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for people to reach out for support from a licensed mental health professional

The SCOOP on Managing Stress
". . . . Behavioral health is core to our overall health. The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary event so it’s normal that individuals are experiencing significant behavioral health impacts. There are actions you can take, and resources available, to help maintain your mental health. Specific steps you can regularly take to improve and maintain your mental wellbeing are below.

S - Stay connected to family and friends. Social connections build resiliency.
C - Compassion for yourself and others. Self-compassion decreases trauma symptoms and stress.
O - Observe your use of substances. Early intervention can prevent problems.
O - Ok to ask for help. Struggling is normal. Asking for help is empowering.
P - Physical activity to improve your mood. Exercise boosts mood and lowers anxiety."

Please forward these flyers (below) broadly:
State Collaborative Social Media Topic Focus for September
  • Back to School Mental Health
  • Suicide Prevention Awareness
  • FASD Awareness
  • Recovery Awareness
  • National Hispanic Awareness
  • Child Welfare Workforce Development Awareness
  • Resilience, Hope .
Subcommittee & Work Group Updates

We always need more help on our subcommittees and work groups. You do not have to regularly attendee 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,

Sonja Frison,

Joanne Scatturo,

Transition Age Youth (TAY)
Lacy Flintall,

School Based Mental Health
Chandrika Brown,
Ashley Bass Mitchell,

Policy & Research
Joanne Scaturro,

Marketing & Communication
Elizabeth Field,
Renee Cordero,
Policy & Research Work Group
A survey was provided to over 180 attendees after our first Regional Policy Institute last week. We were pleased 40% of attendees filled out the survey. Institute attendees came from diverse fields, including: social work, education, healthcare/public health, juvenile justice, policy, and nonprofit sectors. Attendees overwhelmingly cited the legislative panel as what they liked best about the Institute. They also said they liked the information that was provided during the Institute. Here are some quotes from attendees from out first Regional Policy Institute who completed the survey:
  • There was very valuable information from all keynote speakers and I like how it was delivered.

  • This webinar helped me to realize even more the importance of advocating for young people. I am more excited to take what I have learned and continue to advocate for the youth in my community...

  • Looking forward to the others!

Many respondents said they planned to apply their new knowledge to their current work and/or share it with colleagues, stakeholders, schools, and students. A few respondents mentioned building collaborations, supporting families, developing advocacy plans, raising awareness, writing social media posts, and contacting legislators.

Click below to register for our next three Regional Policy Institutes. You can Register for one or all three. Anyone can attend. You are not limited to attend by the region in which you live. You must register for each Institute.
North Carolina Regional Policy Institutes


Virtual Youth Expos

The State Collaborative’ s Transition-Age Youth subcommittee in partnership with Healthy Transitions Initiative has been hosting a series of Regional transition-age youth expositions that take place virtually in each LME/MCO catchment area across North Carolina.  These paid virtual trainings are geared to serve 30-50 youth. The goal is to provide youth participants with skill sets, tools and resources to assist them as they successfully transition into adulthood. The expos are targeted to youth 14-24 years old.

Youth Expos have been held in the Alliance and Cardinal/Sandhills catchment areas and have been very successful. The State Collaborative would like to thank all youth who have participated in the Youth Expos. Having youth input at the table is a key tenent of our State Collaborative.

Our next Youth Expo is set for this weekend, September 26th, 10-4 pm. Participants will receive $50 upon completion. There are still spaces available. See our flyer above for more information Click ASAP to register: Trillium area /YouthExpo2020.

For more information, please email

NC Transition Aged Youth (NCTAY) Committee meetings take place every third Thursday of each month. To be added to the listserv please email

Marketing & Communications

It's been a very busy year for the State Collaborative's Marketing & Communications team. In an effort to raise the awareness and voice of the State Collaborative among our stakeholders, we have been more intentionally integrating messaging and branding across all communication platforms. COVID-19 required us to fast forward our social media goals for the year. We are now active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thanks to a lot of you, our Facebook followers have increased exponentially since the beginning of the year. We were excited to Tweet during our first Regional Policy Institute, and will become more visible on Twitter with our next three Regional Policy Institutes.

We also launched a monthly newsletter called "The Collaborative's Pulse". This is our fourth issue of the newsletter. We are working toward a format and type of information in which our membership base is most interested. We have a diverse membership comprised of state agencies, providers, nonprofits, youth and parents, so sometimes that can be rather challenging. We proceed knowing we come together on the core issue of improving outcomes for children, youth and families throughout our state.
State Collaborate / Monthly Meetings
Our State Collaborative meetings are held on the second and fourth Fridays each month. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, our meetings are being held by Zoom until further notice. Zoom details to attend these meetings are found on our FB page, @NCCollaborative.

Please Mark your Calendar:
Join us for our next State Collaborative meetings on Friday, September 25th and Friday, October 9th.

For July - September, our presentations were as follows:

  • Youth MOVE Leadership Series, Kyle Reece / Youth MOVE; Rachael Landau & Whitney Rosenblatt / Healthy Transitions

  • Medicaid Transformation, Mary Hooper, MSW & Ann Rodriguez, MHA / i2i Center for Integrative Health

  • PTSD and Minority Mental Health, Curtis Brownlee, LCMHC & Miranda Peoples, LCMHC / l.C.A.R.E. Counseling Services

  • What is Exceptional Children's Assistance Center (ECAC)?, Laura Weber / ECAC

  • Connecting with the Community Engagement & Empowerment Team, Kate Barrow, Stacy Hayward, Wes Rider / Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services

  • Making Them Visible: Recognizing, Supporting, and Advocating for Children of Incarcerated and Returning Parents, Melissa Radcliff / Our Children's Place of Coastal Horizons Center

Special thanks to our presenters for taking the time to inform us on important issues affecting children, youth and families throughout our state.
What is the State Collaborative?
The State Collaborative. . .
  • Provides a forum for the discussion of issues regarding how agencies, youth, and families can work together to produce better outcomes for children, youth and families.

  • Develops recommendations regarding the coordination of services, funding, training and local reporting requirements to eliminate duplication and make the system more consumer friendly.

  • Includes representatives of a range of state and local agencies, youth, families, and advocates.

  • Provides support for local Collaboratives, and Child and Family Teams.

Interested in becoming a State Collaborative member? Please contact us.