Building the Lived Experience Workforce

In recent years, much attention has been paid to the many ways that providers can benefit from the knowledge and insights offered by staff with lived experience. However, far less emphasis has been placed on navigating the challenges that sometimes come along with having (or being) a team member whose personal story reflects those of the communities they serve. In response, the Center for Excellence has partnered with a handful of Oregon Alliance member organizations to research strategies to better learn from and support staff with lived experience.

After conducting a literature review into best practices for organizations seeking to hire and train staff with lived experiences, we developed a survey intended for staff and their supervisors—with and without lived experience—that we hope will help us better understand the nature and scope the challenges faced by organizations and their employees. We plan to present the findings from this survey—as well as a status update on the next steps we’ve taken in response to those findings—at our Annual Summit in May.

Even if you/your organization did not participate in the development of the survey, we encourage you to give the link to your staff. The survey is anonymous, and respondents don’t have to indicate which organization they work for if they don’t want to. If you would like to participate but have questions about the survey (or how the findings will be used), please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Survey Link: 


BRS Aftercare

In the second half of 2022, the Center began a contract with ODHS’s Office of Child Welfare to identify opportunities for improvement within the Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS) program—specifically as it pertains to aftercare services. Following an extensive review of existing literature on best practices for aftercare in BRS or BRS-adjacent programs across the country, we conducted a series of interviews with BRS provider staff (ranging from program directors to direct care staff). We then merged this provider feedback with findings pulled from other aftercare efforts to create a set of recommendations for ODHS.

In response to our findings, ODHS plans to include hourly transition service contract language and funding to support strategies above and beyond OAR requirements in the next contract amendment cycle. We hope to continue working with ODHS as they begin the next phase of this work. In the future, we plan to engage BRS children, youth, and families, draft an implementation approach for a revised aftercare model, or create a low-burden self-evaluation tool for providers to assess the efficacy of their own aftercare programs.


Building Community Resilience

The Building Community Resilience (BCR) Collaborative seeks to improve the health of children, families, and communities by fostering engagement between grassroots community services and public and private systems to develop a protective buffer against Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) occurring in Adverse Community Environments (ACEs) – the “Pair of ACEs."

Connecting community organizations (through a church health ministry or trusted food pantry, for example) with larger systems (including those in health care, education, business, law enforcement) can begin to build a durable network to improve community wellbeing. The BCR sites are in the Greater Cincinnati Region of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, Dallas County, TX, the State of Oregon, Washington, DC-Maryland-Virginia, the State of Washington and Kansas City (MO and KS) and St. Louis, MO.