Mission: In 2006, an intra-governmental Working Group was established, focusing on health and wellness, job creation, workforce enrichment, legal and financial services, and benefits for Veterans. Over the years, this coalition has evolved into a referral and collaboration network that gets Veterans and their families the services and supports that they need and reduces red tape. Governor Cooper is supportive of the initiatives undertaken by the Working Group.
Vision: The North Carolina Governor’s Working Group [NCGWG] is charged with facilitating collaboration and coordination among ALL Federal, state and local agency partners that touch a veteran’s life in the state of North Carolina. In short, the “Working Group” is making government work for our vets.
Working Group Chair & Vice Chairs
Secretary, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Kody Kinsley, Vice Chair
Interim Director, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, NC Department of Health and Human Services
Mark Edmonds, Vice Chair
USA, Retired, Chief Operating Officer, Workforce Solutions, North Carolina Department of Commerce
Mark Bilosz, Vice Chair
Director, Veterans Benefits Administration, Winston-Salem Regional Office, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
DeAnne Seekins, Vice Chair
Network Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network (VISN 6)
Martin Falls, Vice Chair
USA (Retired), Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs, NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
A Special Thanks to Our Partners
- NC Department of Health and Human Services
- NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services
- NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
- NC Division of Social Services
- NC Division of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Governor’s Institute
- VA Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Network (VISN 6)
- Vet Centers
- Veterans Health Administration
- Veterans Benefits Administration
- NC Department of Military & Veterans Affairs
- NC Institute of Medicine
- Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP)
- Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolina
- NC Area Health Education Centers (AHEC)
- NC Department of Public Instruction
- Troops to Teachers
- NC Health Info (they never attend any more)
- North Carolina National Guard
- Brain Injury Association of North Carolina
- ECU Operation Re-entry North Carolina
- US Army Reserve
- Old North State Medical Society
- University of North Carolina General Administration
- NC Independent Colleges and Universities
- NC Community College System
- Veterans Upward Bound
- NC Works, NC Department of Commerce
- NC STRIVE (Student Transition Resource Initiative for Veteran’s Education)
- NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund
- Vet Centers (move under VISN 6)
- Evidence-based Practice Implementation Center (EPIC), Duke University
- NC Veteran’s Business Association
- AmericaServes – Charlotte, Raleigh, Coastal, and Western
- Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Cape Fear Valley
- Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations:
- Alliance Behavioral Healthcare
- Cardinal Innovations Healthcare
- Partners Behavioral Health Management
- Sandhills Center
- Trillium Health Resources
- Vaya Health
- Behavioral Health Springboard, UNC School of Social Work
- Operation Home, NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
- NC Coalition to End Homelessness
- NC for Military Employment (NC4ME)
- North Carolina Military Business Center
- National Association of Social Workers – North Carolina Chapter
The Charlotte/Mecklenburg area was selected to participate in the national initiative known as the Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families. In June, staff from the SAMHSA-funded SMVF Technical Assistance Center worked with an interagency team to develop consensus on priorities and action items to support implementation of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention at the local level. This site visit was followed by additional sessions in August and September in which the vision was crafted, All who have served will thrive, knowing they belong and where to go to find hope rather than choosing suicide, working committees were formed, and goals for each committee were outlined.
The SAMHSA-funded SMVF Technical Assistance Center conducted a site visit with the purpose of bringing together the leadership of state agencies to develop an interagency strategic action plan that would continue the work of the Governor’s Working Group on Veterans, Service Members, and their Families in the areas of behavioral health, housing, education, and employment. The plan was expected to build system capacity and effectiveness as well as increase SMVF access to military and civilian programs and services. One of the priorities was the need to identify where SMVFs were intersecting with the state system—this called for state agencies to ask the question, Have you ever served in the military? This action meant that state and community agencies needed to develop a standard way of asking the question and referring SMVF to appropriate federal, state, and local services and resources. NCServes was identified as a best practice for referring SMVF to appropriate services. Asking the question also meant that cross-agency training was needed.
SAMHSA has begun offering Virtual Implementation Academies, and North Carolina was invited to participate in the first one for Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). North Carolina identified 20 individuals to comprise the team, including representatives from the VA; NC National Guard; the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services; the NC Department of Military and Veteran Affairs; the Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse; the Alcohol and Drug Council of NC; and the Behavioral Healthcare Resource Program, UNC School of Social Work.
SAMHSA held a conference on Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Service Members, Veterans, and their Families(SMVF) through Workforce Development so that State teams could learn strategies for increasing the skills of the behavioral health workforce to provide services and supports for military-connected individuals.
SAMHSA hosted a Military and Veterans’ Families Implementation Academy for State teams across the country to learn about evidence-informed practices for military and veterans’ families and to provide the opportunity for teams to further expand components of existing strategic plans.
SAMHSA Policy Academy, State Plan Boot Camp, Preparing States and Communities to Support the Behavioral Health Needs of Service Members, Veterans, and their Families: North Carolina Team Leader, Flo Stein participated in a panel to provide advice and lessons learned to nine new states.
SAMHSA Policy Academy, Our Turn to Serve: Building Communities and Strengthening Military Families: A representative from North Carolina served as a member of the State-to-State Innovation Team and provided TA to new state teams.
SAMHSA Policy Academy on State Tribal Partnership Summit: North Carolina team identified four strategies to meet the needs of American Indian veterans.
2011 SAMHSA Policy Academy, Best Practices for Reclaiming Recovery, Resiliency: and Readiness: The North Carolina team identified outreach to American Indian veterans and employment as areas for ongoing technical assistance.
SAMHSA identified Military Families as one of their eight strategic initiatives and began funding for the Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) Technical Assistance (TA) Center.
SAMHSA Policy Academy, Returning Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families: The North Carolina Team participated in this policy academy providing mentorship to the seven states and one territory that were first-time participants. North Carolina’s mission and strategic plan were refined.
SAMHSA hosted first Policy Academy, Paving the Road Home: The National Behavioral Health Conference and Policy Academy on Returning Veterans and Their Families: North Carolina was one of ten states to be chosen to attend via a competitive application process. The participating states developed a guiding vision, identified key priorities, and developed a strategic plan.
North Carolina Stakeholder Summit, hosted by the Governor, and sponsored by the DMH/DD/SAS and MIRECC, VISN 6, US Department of VA, which brought together key state, federal, and local stakeholders: The Governor’s Focus on Servicemembers, Veterans, and Their Families was formed, followed by monthly meetings, which continue to this day. The group has been the source of many new partnerships and initiatives that support the State’s military-connected citizens.
North Carolina participated in the SAMHSA/TCA Conference The Road Home: The National Behavioral Health Conference on Returning Veterans and Their Families.