Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health

Meet Your Technical Assistance Coordinator

Rebecca Ornelas

Photo: Rebecca Ornelas

As a Technical Assistance Coordinator, I continue to embrace and be guided by the many lessons learned over the years from the personal stories of the children, youth, foster youth, and families about resilience, hope, and the importance of family throughout one’s life. As a parent of a child "who often took the road less traveled and much less understood" by those around him, our family’s journey provided new insights to the challenges that children, their siblings and families face. These experiences have resulted in a heightened sense of responsibility and conviction to do "whatever it takes" to support each individual child, youth, and family in their life goals. I look forward to supporting your system of care in realizing your vision for the children and families in your community and to supporting you in the continued development and success of your system of care initiatives!

More About Rebecca

Rebecca Ornelas, M.Ed., works for the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health as a Technical Assistance Coordinator for the TA Partnership. A licensed professional counselor, she has 28 years of experience in various public and private mental health positions. Rebecca served adults with serious mental illness and children with serious mental health needs in her roles as caseworker, clinician, program director, grant writer, educator, and executive administrator in her career with the community mental health center in her hometown of El Paso, Texas. Fighting the public sector image of being a "provider of last resort," she held firm to her commitment to build quality services in her county agency—the services that children and families said they needed—and to provide access particularly for the un-served and underserved.

Prior to joining the TA Partnership, she was clinical director for the El Paso Border Children’s Mental Health Collaborative, a system of care initiative. She led the adaptation and implementation of the Wraparound Approach for the bilingual/bicultural predominantly Hispanic youth in the juvenile justice and foster care systems, developed related training tools, and coauthored the SOC grant application. Her experience at Casey Family Programs involved leading the development of a community collaborative to develop a community approach to address the needs of transition-aged youth involved in foster care, mental health, and juvenile justice. She also provided staff support to Casey’s Texas State Collaboration with child welfare and system change initiatives focused on the transition of foster youth.

She has served on local and national boards, and was named 2001 Practitioner of the Year by the National Hispano/Latino Prevention Network. She is especially proud of her new title "Granny," earned upon the birth of her first grandchild Sammy to daughter Michelle and Victor in 2008. Also last year, son Paul graduated with a Bachelor’s in Nursing and daughter Valerie is on track with graduating in 2009! Of Mexican heritage and bilingual, Becky and husband Henry currently reside in Los Angeles, California.

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