Tag Archive: VCU

  1. VCU Social Work Students Speak Up for Kids During 2018 Lobby Day


    Nearly 100 students from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work spoke up for kids’ issues during the Social Work Advocacy Day on Feb. 7, 2018. Voices helped kick off the day by sharing with students strategies that are most effective when meeting with legislators.

    Students advocated for kids in foster care, students impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline, the importance of healthcare for all Virginians, and improvements to children’s mental health, among other topics. The social work profession was founded to effect positive social change. Throughout the profession’s history, social workers have sought to ensure all people have equal access to the resources and opportunities that allow them to meet their basic needs. We are glad to know the next generation of social workers has placed a great emphasis on the needs of Virginia’s children.


    Students and VCU faculty met with Del. Betsy Carr to advocate for the passage of a kinship guardianship assistance program.


    At the conclusion of the day, students shared how it felt to advocate for kids.


    “Today presented itself as an opportunity to translate stories, experiences, and factual data into a meaningful and impactful conversation with legislators in order to advocate for the kinship guardianship assistance program and children in foster care.” – Bianca Casper








    “As a clinical student, this was a great experience in having the opportunity to engage in macro practices advocating for policies that directly impact our clients.” – Jessica Hubbard







    Voices thanks all the students and faculty who used their stories to speak up for kids!

  2. Guest Blog: A Mom’s View on Getting Involved

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    This blog post was written by Peggy Sinclair-Morris about her experience learning more about advocacy in the children’s mental health system.

    As a project coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University, my job entails setting up and attending workshops, trainings, and conferences.  As a mom, my job is to be a mom and take care of my family…as a parent of a child with mental illness, I feel my job is to educate and surround myself with information.  The opportunity to learn more about not just my daughter’s conditions, but also to learn about the “system” of mental health fell into my lap in October.  Along with another parent in Virginia, I was sponsored by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to attend the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health annual conference in Washington, D.C, November 16-18, 2012.

    I had certain sessions in mind I wanted to attend, but I think a big part of what I wanted or needed was a chance to connect with other parents that “walk the walk” of having a child with mental illness.  It was comforting to be around people that have had similar experiences and have walked in your shoes…

    Here are some things that really remain with me two weeks later…

    –          Elizabeth Smart’s message of hope and healing, her ability to NOT let her captor continue to hold power over her as she lives her life today.

    –          Strengthening your voice through storytelling, through telling your own personal story.  What are the benefits of sharing the journey of your child’s mental illness?  Educating your family and friends, connecting with others that share similar stories, letting people know that mental illness is not something to fear, but to understand.

    –          The Affordable Care Act, what is it and what’s happening in Virginia?  I had no idea that Virginia will not be establishing a State-based Exchange or expanding Medicaid.  I didn’t even know what a State-based Exchange was, but I do now.  Here are some resources for more information on what’s happening nationally and locally:



    What will I do with all of the information?  My hope is to involve myself in storytelling, reach out to other families, learn more about The Affordable Care Act and continue my personal journey of hope and healing.

    Thank you to Pam Fisher and Margaret Nimmo Crowe for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference!

    — Peggy Sinclair-Morris

  3. Early Childhood Mental Health: What’s Going on in Virginia?

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    Quite a bit! For the last several years, professionals in Virginia who care about early childhood development have been working together to build a system that trains those who work with infants and toddlers and their parents to address the social and emotional development of young children. Three state agencies have now combined funding to support a full-time coordinator of Virginia’s Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative; Bonnie Grifa was started in this position in February 2012 and is housed at VCU’s Partnership for People with Disabilities. Bonnie brings a wealth of experience and passion to this initiative, and you can reach her at bgrifa@vcu.edu.

    Read all about the exciting new developments in this newsletter — ECMH Update May 2012 — including the activities of the Virginia Association of Infant Mental Health, the new Infant Mental Health Competency and Endorsement System, and the Pyramid Model.

    What is early childhood mental health anyway?

    Zero to Three describes it this way: “Early childhood mental health is synonymous with general health and well-being and healthy social, emotional, and behavioral development. It is affected by a child’s biological predisposition, the child’s environment, including access to adequate food, clothing, and safe shelter, and the continuity of nurturing relationships.”

    We know that children who develop mental health challenges often show signs of problems very early in life. Early intervention by trained professionals can be the key to better functioning for children. The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health wants children to have access to the services and interventions they need as soon as possible, and we are supportive of the efforts of the early childhood mental health community in Virginia.

  4. Art exhibits at VTCC feature patients’ work

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    For 50 years, the Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC) has provided mental health treatment for the children of Virginia. As part of the anniversary celebration, it has launched an ongoing exhibit of art created by current and former patients of VTCC. VTCC is the pediatric service of VCU’s Department of Psychiatry and a service of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

    The inaugural show features photographs by Amy Wirtala of Fredericksburg, VA. Amy views the world through Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Her photography will be on display through the month of May.

    VTCC is located at 515 North 10th Street Richmond, VA 23298. The lobby is open to the public, so please stop by to see Amy’s work.

    The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health congratulates Amy on her success!