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Office of Adult Community Behavioral Health

On July 1, 2016, the DBHDS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office of Substance Abuse Services (OSAS) merged to create the Office of Adult Community Behavioral Health (ACBH). The mission of ACBH is to work toward achieving the DBHDS vision of A Life of Possibility for All Virginians  through system-level collaboration and promotion of a person-centered, recovery-oriented system of care that provides access to high-quality behavioral health services to citizens of the Commonwealth.

Within DBHDS, ACBH is responsible for planning, developing, funding and monitoring the delivery of public adult behavioral health services, including services and supports for adults with serious mental health illness (SMI), substance use disorders (SUD), and those with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (COD). To ensure the delivery of coordinated services to mutually served populations, ACBH significantly collaborates with other state agencies that interact with the public behavioral health system. Important state agency partners include the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services; the Department of Corrections; the Department of Criminal Justice Services; the Department of Housing and Community Development; the Department of Social Services, and Department of Veterans Services, and the Virginia Department of Health. In addition, ACBH collaborates with local service providers - Virginia’s Community Services Boards in particular - and stakeholder agencies and groups which represent or advocate for the needs of individuals with SMI, SUD and COD. To facilitate collaboration and communication, ACBH staff participate on a variety of state- and community-level councils, task forces and work groups.

ACBH Duties and Responsibilities:  As the DBHDS office with administrative responsibility for community-based adult behavioral health services, ACBH’s responsibilities include the following.

Leadership: Informing, implementing and supporting the DBHDS vision, mission and related values and principles as we conduct day-to-day operations and engage in the process of making positive system change. Responsibilities include:

  • Ongoing communication, guidance, clarification, refinement of agency vision and values and how these are operationalized in agency functions, service delivery by CSBs and state psychiatric facilities, and administrative practice.
  • Liaison to CSBs, state hospitals, service recipients and families, support and advocacy organizations, other public and private agencies and partners.
    Customer Service: Responding as needed to inquiries, requests for information or assistance, referral, clarification or interpretation of policy, etc., from service recipients, families, the Commissioner’s office, other DBHDS offices (e.g. media), and external agencies and organizations, and the public at large.

Planning: Planning related to the Commonwealth’s public behavioral health services for adults, including developing strategic and operational plans, recommending legislative and funding proposals, etc. Responsibilities include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Application and reporting for the combined Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treament (SAPT) Block Grant.
  • Developing MH and SUD initiatives for the Commonwealth’s annual budget submission process.

Program Development: Developing, implementing, monitoring and supporting new community behavioral health initiatives, including programs, services and administrative infrastructure and supports. Responsibilities include:

  • Develop and implement new MH and SUD initiatives funded by the Virginia General Assembly , including developing funding allocations, providing state-level oversight of the development of new services, and collecting and reporting data as required.
  • Monitor and provide technical assistance to CSBs to support and improve existing behavioral health service programs in CSBs and facilities, including Programs of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), emergency and crisis stabilization services, behavioral health residential services, opiate treatment programs, homelessness services, peer supports, and other community-based services.
  • Implement and manage state-level program initiatives including:
    • Permanent supportive housing for individuals with SMI/COD
    • SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) services
    • Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) services for adults with serious mental illness experiencing homelessness
    • REVIVE! training for the prevention of opiate overdose
    • Handle with C.A.R.E. to address the needs of substance-exposed newborns
    • Coordinated Specialty Care for transition-age youth and young adults with First Episode Psychosis
    • Virginia Advance Directives Initiative to promote the development of advance directives for behavioral health crisis care

Policy Development: Reviewing, developing, implementing, and evaluating behavioral health policies in Virginia. Examples include:

  • Recommending MH and SUD-related State Board Policies
  • Participating in legislative activity around Virginia’s system of mental health laws
  • Policies and procedures for the administration of Medication Assisted Treatment for SUDs
  • Medical Screening and Medical Assessment Guidance
  • Employment and Housing First activities

Grant and Contract Management: Developing, implementing and managing grants and contracts for which the office is responsible, including:

  • Federal MH and SAPT Block Grants
  • Medication Assisted Treatment Implementation Grant
  • Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) Grant, including monitoring and oversight of 14 CSB subgrantees
  • Contracts with CSB and community housing providers for the provision of state-funded Permanent Supportive Housing
  • Contracts with peer-run direct organizations for the delivery of peer recovery support services
  • Contracts with Mental Health America of Virginia (MHAV ),NAMI Virginia, the Substance Abuse Addiction Recovery Alliance (SAARA) of Virginia, and the Virginia Organization of Consumers Asserting Leadership (VOCAL) for consumer and family education, training, support and advocacy services
  • Contracts with Oxford House International and the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services for residential and employment support services for individuals with SUDs
  • Contracts with the University of Virginia Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy (ILPPP) for legal research and Advance Directives research and implementation

Quality Improvement Activities: Developing, implementing and supporting statewide, regional or local quality improvement, evaluation, performance management or monitoring infrastructure and processes, including:

  • Development of BH performance measures in collaboration with the Office of Support Services and DBHDS executive leadership
  • Temporary Detention Order (TDO) Exceptions data collection and reporting
  • Annual surveys to measure Consumer and Family Satisfaction with CSB services
  • Ongoing CSB and program review in accordance with federal grant expectations for subgrantee oversight and monitoring

Interagency Collaboration: Convening, coordinating and collaborating with other agencies and organizations to pursue or represent the Commonwealth’s or Department’s behavioral health interests on commissions, committees, workgroups, studies, task forces, advisory groups, councils, etc. Examples include ongoing and ad hoc work with:

  • Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services
  • Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Department of Medical Assistance Services
  • Department of Social Services
  • Department of Veterans Services
  • Governor’s Coordinating Council on Homelessness
  • Governor’s Substance Abuse Services Council
  • Joint Subcommittee Studying Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the 21st Century (“SJ 47” subcommittee)
  • Mental Health America of Virginia
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • NAMI Virginia
  • Virginia Behavioral Health Advisory Council
  • Virginia Supreme Court
  • Virginia Association of Community Services Boards
  • Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
  • Virginia Housing Development Authority
  • Virginia Health Care Association
  • Virginia Veteran and Family Support

Legislative Initiatives: Managing and completing legislative initiatives affecting behavioral health policy and operations, including statutory legislation, Appropriations Act requirements and studies and follow-up initiatives pursuant to legislative action. Responsibilities include:

  • Preparing legislative proposals
  • Analyzing and evaluating behavioral health legislation for DBHDS leadership and suggesting refinements
  • Representing DHBDS in legislative committees and to legislators
  • Implementing and monitoring new laws in system
  • Completing required legislative studies and reports

Training and Consultation: Planning, leading, sponsoring, conducting and supporting education, training, consultation and other learning for providers, administrators and system stakeholders. Examples include:

  • Provide training on behavioral health issues and initiatives as requested by local communities and provider groups
  • Manage CSB screener and independent evaluator certification
  • Annual training in new legislation, and ad hoc training
  • Invited presentations and webinars to stakeholder groups, providers, other agencies at conferences, meetings, etc.


Charlotte Watts, Ph.D., Behavioral Health Operations Manager

Program Team Members:

Regional Team Members:  The ACBH Regional Consultant Team serves as the Behavioral Health Division's first-line contact to the Community Services Boards, state psychiatric facilities, and regional managers in each of the Commonwealth's five major service planning regions.  The Regional Consultant Team members and the areas they serve are as follows:

    Regional Consultants:

  • Susan Pauley, Region 1 Consultant
    • Western State Hospital
    • Alleghany-Highlands CSB
    • Harrisonburg-Rockingham CSB
    • Horizon Behavioral Health
    • Northwestern CSB
    • Rappahannock Area CSB
    • Region Ten CSB
    • Rockbridge Area CSB
    • Rappahannock-Rapidan CSB
    • Valley CSB
  • Martha Kurgans, L.C.S.W., Region 2 Consultant
    • Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute
    • Alexandria CSB
    • Arlington CSB
    • Fairfax-Falls Church CSB
    • Loudoun CSB
    • Prince William County CSB
  • Kate Marshall, L.C.S.W., Region 3 Consultant
    • Catawba Hospital
    • Southwestern Virginia Behavioral Health Institute
    • Blue Ridge Behavioral Health
    • Cumberland Mountain CSB
    • Danville-Pittsylvania CSB
    • Dickenson County Behavioral Health Services
    • Highlands CSB
    • Mt. Rogers CSB
    • New River Valley CSB
    • Piedmont Regional CSB
    • Planning District 1 CSB
    • Southside CSB
  • Region 4 Consultant:  Position vacant as of June 30, 2017
    • Central State Hospital
    • Chesterfield CSB
    • Crossroads CSB
    • District 19 CSB
    • Hanover CSB
    • Henrico CSB
    • Goochland-Powhatan CSB
    • Richmond Behavioral Health Authority
  • Julie Truitt, Region 5 Consultant
    • Eastern State Hospital
    • Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Health Services
    • Colonial Behavioral Health
    • Eastern Shore CSB
    • Hampton-Newport News CSB
    • Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck CSB
    • Norfolk CSB
    • Portsmouth Department of Behavioral Health Services
    • Western Tidewater CSB
    • Virginia Beach CSB