History of the Family Movement

Timeline of Family Organizations in Washington State

Many heroes are involved in the creation of the Washington State System of Care family history in Washington State. Here is a brief history, but the true highlights are the lives that have been recovered and the resilience that made it happen in each family that was touched by the pioneers.

  • In 1988,  The journey began in early 1988 with the development of the Community Connectors Project to fill a recognized need for connection between parents/caregivers for support.  Families (mostly moms) involved in this project were those whom folks in the community turned to for support and information;
  • In 1992, Washington State submitted is EPSDT plan for Medicaid with a major component mandating the development of a Children’s Oversight Committee recognizing parents/caregivers as ‘major’ players.  This was the first year Wraparound training was provided for parents/caregivers;
  • In 1993, a waiver to Medicaid rules was submitted requesting the provision of managed care service for mental health consumers.  A significant piece of the waiver was the inclusion of consumers, their families, people providing non-direct mental health services and others, at the consumer’s request in Individualized and Tailored Care Planning (Wraparound);
  • In 1994, the WAC (Washington Administrative Code) was changed to reflect the language in the Medicaid waiver, also requiring the plan be flexible and responsive to the consumer’s needs.  The WAC also required each RSN (Regional Support Network) to have an advisory board whose membership was made up of at least 51% consumers and families;
  • In 1996, A Common Voice for Pierce County Parents became the first non-profit parent organization whose sole focus was supporting families of children with complex needs
  • In 1997, the first Parent Advocate was hired at a children’s long-term inpatient residential facility.  Community Connectors participant numbers grew to 53 participants across the state.  Parent resource/support groups were forming with or without the support of Federal Block Grant (FBG) dollars;
  • In 1998, Mental Health Division (MHD) contracted with a parent to serve as Child Service Advocate in the Office of Consumer Affairs (Now known as Office of Consumer Partnerships);
  • In 1999, the Statewide Parent Council formed through the support of MHD representing family organizations from across the state;
  • In 2000, October – 2001, September Federal Block Grant funds were set aside to specifically assist in the development of family organizations;
  • In 2000, King County formed the first for youth by youth group for youth with lived experience in mental health called Health ‘N Action!  This group was one of the first three groups in the nation modeled around choice and voice for youth;
  • In 2000, the application for SAMHSA’s Statewide Networking Grant was submitted and awarded; Parent Council renamed SAFEWA (Statewide Action for Family Empowerment of Washington) began to form a statewide family organization;
  • In 2001, March, Passages was formed and became part of the Parent Council;
  • In 2001, a short lived plan for a parent/caregiver to be part of the MHD Monitoring Team was implemented.  Although having the position on the team created positive change in the field, it was a difficult shift for some to make or accept;
  • In 2002, the Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration allowed the Technical Assistance Partnership to form a “Youth Track” at their annual system of care conference.  Youth, for the first time, were seen as subject matter experts. Health ‘N Action! of Washington helped plan the conference and presented on “Youth Culture”.  This is the first of many conferences and they are still active today;
  • In 2003, Health ‘N Action! partnered with other youth organizations and formed the first legislative advocacy “Youth Day”;
  • In 2003, SAFEWA obtained status as a 501C3 organization;
  • In 2003, MHD moved the parent Advocate position from a contracted to a full time state staff position;
  • In 2003, several family organizations are starting to form around the State of Washington. They meet and learn from each other at the Connectors conference held each year;
  • In 2004, three administrations within Department of Social and Health Services, Mental Health Division, Children’s Administration and the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration started partnering and contracting with SAFEWA;
  • In 2005, the Parent Advocate position at Child Study and Treatment Center became a part of the CSTC staff reporting to the CEO;
  • In 2005, King County’s youth organization, Health N’ Action! transitioned under SAFEWA’s purview and re-named to Youth N’ Action! to become the first statewide youth organization whose focus was  around youth with complex needs; 
  • In 2005 the second Youth ‘N Action! group was formed in Spokane, Washington on the Eastern side of the state.  Passages family organization sponsored the youth group within their organization;
  • In 2005 Washington Dads began to organize with support from the Mental Health Division;
  • In 2006 SAFEWA was one of the major contractors involved in Washington State’s Mental Health Transformation Project (MHTP);
  • In 2006 Full time youth director was hired for Youth ‘N Action! and supported by the MHTG;
  • In 2008 Family Alliance for Mental Health forms.  MHTP supports a Family Liaison position with the transfer of MHTP Consumer Family Tribal Liaison into the vacated position;
  • In 2009 Family Liaison position was fully funded by and was incorporated into DBHR (Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery);
  • In 2010 SAFEWA dissolved; “What Do Families & Youth Want?” survey was distributed and as a result MHTP allocates funds to support outcomes of the survey.  The survey  indicated the desire of families and youth to develop networks of support locally and regionally across the state;
  • In 2010 Youth ‘N Action! moved and became an integral program at the University of Washington’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Public Behavioral Health Policy Institute.  Youth ‘N Action! has six regions and is still a major contributor to the national youth movement as a pioneering youth voice organization;
  • In 2011 regional organizing of families and youth began through contracts with four family/youth organizations in response to “What do Families and Youth Want?” survey outcomes;
  • In 2012 Youth ‘N Action!  drives the development of the Youth and Family Peer Support curriculum;
  • In 2012 Families and youth from across the state began a nine month process of strategic planning and writing the youth and Family Peer Support training curriculum; and,
  • In 2012 Regional Family, Youth and System Partner Roundtables (FYSPRT) begin to develop, building off the regional organizing work of 4 family and youth organizations in 2010-2011.  Through outreach and development of  regional FYSPRTS four additional local FYSPRTs are growing as well as 6 additional branches of already existing family and youth organizations and/or resource groups.
  • In 2013 the first youth and family Certified Peer Counselor Training was held.
  • In 2013 the TR lawsuit was being settled and mandatory WISe/Wraparound teams started forming in Washington State
  • In 2014 a family state-wide organization started to emerge from the community connectors group of advocates.
  • In 2014 Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery opened a relevant  parent liaison/advocacy position within the division and  it has been filled by Patty King for two years.
  • In 2015 Community Connectors became a 501 c3
  • In 2016  the parent movement continues to grow