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SPAN Co-Director Receives 2018 FFCMH Reclaiming Children Award

Diana Autin, Executive Co-Director of the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), received the 2018 Reclaiming Children Award from the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health at their Annual Conference in Houston, Texas.  The Reclaiming Children Award recognizes “outstanding efforts at the local and state level on behalf of children experiencing behavioral health challenges and their families,” and is awarded to “an exceptional individual who has made significant contributions to enhancing the lives of children and their families.”

Her nomination notes, “Shortly after coming to SPAN 24 years ago, Autin helped train and mobilize diverse parents of children with mental health challenges to successfully advocate for the first statewide Children's System of Care with parents and children/youth being able to access Care Management Organizations, Family Support Organizations, and mobile response in every community.  Since that time, she has continued to provide leadership at the national, state, and local levels to improve services to and outcomes for diverse children and youth with mental health/behavioral challenges and their families, including advocating for continued funding for and independence of the family-led Family Support Organizations.  Her commitment to equity and reducing disparities has led to her role as a Wisdom Council member and advisor to the National Center for Cultural Competence.  She has presented on critical issues at national conferences.  She has overseen the development of an array of educational materials for families around children's mental health. She has provided technical assistance and support to family organizations including Parent Centers and Family to Family Health Information Centers to strengthen their capacity to provide quality services and support to families of children with special needs including mental health/behavioral challenges.  She has shared SPAN resources, including those on sustainability, fundraising, reaching and serving diverse parents, and evaluation, with family organizations including FFCMH chapters.  As a parent herself, she has provided parent-to-parent support to other families of children and youth with mental health/behavioral challenges.”

Autin also co-directs the National Center for Family Professional Partnerships, a collaboration with Family Voices, and is on the Boards of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and its New Jersey State Organization, the New Jersey Alliance of Family Support Organizations.