Tuesday, May 29, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn launched an effort to create a Community-Based Mental Health Incubation Academy, an innovative solution to better connect small community-based agencies with funding opportunities. The idea was presented in a motion at the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting where it passed with unanimous support.
“Delivering mental health services is done best by organizations that are embedded in the communities they serve, speak the same language as their clients, and can deliver tailored, culturally-competent care,” said Hahn. “Unfortunately, many of these smaller nonprofits have been shut out of contracting and funding opportunities.”
Research has shown that smaller, community-based organizations are more likely to be trusted and effective providers of mental health and prevention services, especially in underserved, minority, and non-English-speaking communities. Unfortunately, many of these smaller non-profits lack the structure and institutional capacity to compete for and maintain county contracts.
Supervisor Hahn has proposed establishing a Community-Based Mental Health Incubation Academy to help local non-profits build capacity, organizational infrastructure, and workforce necessary to become contractors with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health. In the Incubation Academy, organizations could receive training for how to better track revenue and expenditures, how to implement industry best practices in internal controls, and how to use data to track services and outcomes. In addition, the organizations enrolled in the academy could have access to a fund made up of public and private partnerships.
“By creating an Incubation Academy for these non-profits, not only will we finally be able to direct funding to these community-based groups, we will be able to help strengthen these organizations and ensure they can continue providing mental health services for years to come,” said Supervisor Hahn.
The motion, authored by Supervisor Hahn and co-authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, directs the county’s Chief Executive Officer and the Department of Mental Health in consultation with the Auditor-Controller and the Director of the Center for Strategic Public-Private Partnerships, to report back in 60 days with a written report containing recommendations for the establishment of the Incubation Academy and its accompanying Fund.