Information on the 2015-16 MFT Stipend Program
The California MFT Stipend Program is funded through the Mental Health Services Act and administered by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to address the statewide workforce need for mental health practitioners in underserved communities of California. The long-range objective of the MFT Stipend Program is to promote public mental health as a career option for those entering the MFT profession. Towards that end, the MFT Stipend Program promotes curriculum development in MFT graduate institutions that prepares MFT graduates for public mental health practice.
The Goals of the State's MFT Educational Stipend Program:
- To recruit MFT students with the capacity to serve the culturally diverse needs of persons in mental health care especially in underserved communities
- To recruit MFT students who are in recovery of serious mental illness and have experienced public mental health care as clients or family members of clients
- To recruit MFT students who are trained in the delivery of recovery-oriented mental health services and have received instruction by those recovering from mental illness
- To recruit MFT students who are community-oriented with career plans to practice in public mental health as an MFT intern and licensed MFT professional
- To recruit MFT students who are committed to provide clinical services as a stipend recipient in a county designated by the state as County of Need
The long-range objective of the MFT educational stipend program is to promote public mental health as a career option for those entering the MFT profession. Towards that end, the stipend program promotes curriculum development in MFT graduate institutions that prepares MFT graduates for public mental health practice.
The Mental Health Services Act
The State's stipend program is funded through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). Enacted in 2005, the mission of MHSA is to transform California's public mental health delivery; in part, with mental health professionals dedicated to community service and to the care of those living with mental illness, by inspiring hope in their recovery, focusing on their personal strengths, respecting their cultural perspectives and learning from their lived experiences as consumers.
Students whose degree will post in this fiscal year (7/1/15-6/30/16 – aka our Dec. and May grads) are eligible to apply now for the 2015-2016 State Stipend program. The State program closes on 10/07/15, so there is a fairly quick turn-around. Students who might like to work in LA County can also apply for the LA County stipend program, which is completely separate from the State one, with different application essays & requirements, and slightly later due dates.
Applications for the State program (111 stipends total, divided among all the regional MFT consortia – 12 for Orange County, 22 for LA county, 9 for San Diego, etc.) may be made to any ONE regional consortium, based on where the graduate intends to live & work. The LA County program (52 stipends) is JUST for service in LA, for funding reasons. All stipends are for $18,500 and act as a “signing bonus” for choosing to work in community mental health settings that are DMH-run or contracted. Recipients work for one year, either 30+ hours/week in a paid position (and still get paid, not just receive the stipend) or 20+ hours as a volunteer to ‘pay back’ their stipend obligation. Each consortium has a Stipend Coordinator to help recipients get placed and track repayment obligation fulfillment.
As the “school representative” for both stipend programs (and both the COUN and PSYC departments), I need to sign the application form for the State program, or put students on an “approved applicant” list for LA Co one. Please have students contact me before sending their application(s), so I can check their “good standing” status with their Department. All students interested in working in community mental health are encouraged to apply. While extra points are given for being bilingual (in a threshold language of the region where you apply), it is not an absolute requirement (contrary to the rumors I sometimes hear). Points are also given for doing practicum in a DMH run- or contracted site, etc. Check the stipend apps for more details.
Students wishing to apply for the State stipend program through the Orange County MFT Regional Consortium would benefit from listening to the tutorial created by Susan Read-Weil, the OC Stipend Coordinator. The link is on the OC Consortium webpage . This is ONLY for State stipend applicants applying through Orange County, however.
Please feel free to distribute this information widely for MFT-prep students. If you have questions, I’m here to help. Peace, Mary
Mary M. Read, Ph.D., LMFT
Director of Clinical Training
Department of Counseling
California State University, Fullerton