About Us

History and Purpose

Steering Committee

Resource Center staff

Map and contact info


History and Purpose  (Back to top

The Children's Mental Health Resource Center opened in March 2011. The Center was founded by a coalition of organizations and individuals in the Greater Richmond community who came together with the goal of making it easier to navigate the complex system of mental health care for children. 

"We want to be the GPS for children's mental health," said Bob Cohen, PhD, director of the Virginia Treatment Center for Children and one of the Center's founders. "One in five children experience a mental health problem that impacts their daily life, but it's very difficult to find and obtain appropriate mental health services in our system. We are trying to change that. We want to provide a one-stop place for people to learn about children's mental health and get connected to services."

The Center's programs include:

  • This website with information on childhood disorders, available treatments, and links to resources
  • An on-site library with educational materials in both English and Spanish, and a workstation for doing guided research on the internet
  • Family Navigators, a family-to-family peer support program in the initial stages of development
  • A pilot project that offers Referral Assistance services to families referred to the Center through a group of participating pediatric primary care practices in the City of Richmond

The coalition that established the Center includes public and private mental health care providers, major family advocacy groups, and parents of children who have received mental health services. The group began meeting in 2009 to plan and develop the Resource Center in response to a lack of local resources for both families of children with mental health needs and child-serving professionals.

Support for the Center comes from grants, private donations and in-kind assistance from coalition and community partners. Administrative oversight is provided by the Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC) in the Department of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Resource Center is located at 515 N 10th St., Richmond, VA 23298 on the VCU Medical Campus, in the Virginia Treatment Center for Children.

To see a list of Coalition Partners, click here.


Program Advisory Group  (Back to top)

The Program Advisory Group provides overall guidance for the Center's operation. Administrative oversight is provided by the Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC) in the VCU Department of Psychiatry.

Committee members

Bela Sood, MD, Chair, VCU Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Medical Director, Virginia Treatment Center for Children

Claudia Wall, MEd, Director of Community Relations/Student & Community Services, Virginia Union University

Jay Ziehl, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, UMFS

John Richardson-Lauve, LCSW, Program Manager-Guidance Clinic, ChildSavers

Lisa Moon, PhD, Faculty and Director of The Center for the Study of the Urban Child, Virginia Union University

Margaret Nimmo Holland, Executive Director, Voices for Virginia’s Children

Stephany Melton, Director-Statewide Family Network, NAMI Virginia

Nicole O-Pries, LCSW, CTS, Director of Clinical and Community Based Services, Virginia Home for Boys and Girls

Patricia Harris, NCC, LPC, President, Family Focus, Inc.

Paulette Skapars, LCSW, Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

Tanya Gonzalez, Manager, Richmond Hispanic Liaison Office

Thomas Leahy, Founder, Beacon Tree Foundation

Rebecca China, Coordinator, CSA, City of Richmond

Alexandria Lewis, PhD, Executive Director, Virginia Treatment Center for Children, VCU Department of Psychiatry  


Resource Center Staff  (Back to top)

Sharon Alexander
Program Manager
Karen Purcell
Administrative Project Coordinator
Robin Church
Family Navigator
Zoe Bunnell
Family Navigator
Casey Tomlinson
Program Assistant
Tariye George-Phillips
Shanelle Williams
Garnet Fryling
VCU Social Work Intern



Date Reviewed: September 8, 2017