Susan Cumbia Clare
Office of Comprehensive Services
Susan Cumbia Clare, executive director of the Office of Comprehensive Services, oversees the agency's daily operations. Over time, she has seen the need for local CSA* offices to provide services to at-risk youth and their families with fewer resources. Looking at how they were forced to do more with less, Clare immediately saw the opportunity to bring all CSA localities together to foster the exchange of knowledge and ideas. As Clare saw it, "With greater pressures on stretching limited resources to serving all youth in need, there has been an increased need to ensure resources are used appropriately and most efficiently. A lack of direction and training from the state level was identified as a contributing factor to local confusion about the myriad requirements of the CSA. The OCS developed a comprehensive training plan to ensure the provision of robust training to the many stakeholders. One of the strategies of this robust training plan was the provision of a statewide conference for those responsible for implementing the CSA at the local level. The partnership with Virginia Tech to offer the first annual training in June of 2012 was a tremendous success."
In June 2012, the Virginia Tech Richmond Center partnered with the Office of Comprehensive Services to host the First Annual Commonwealth of Virginia CSA Conference, held over the course of two days at Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. The goal of the conference was to increase each community’s confidence in its ability to meet statutory requirements and state policies in the implementation of the Comprehensive Services Act so that time, energy, and resources could then be spent on the “real work,” i.e., achieving the vision of the Comprehensive Services Act to serve youth and families creatively, effectively, and with the greatest cost efficiency.
The well-attended conference brought together almost 50 vendors and more than 500 participants who received in-depth training on implementing the many facets of the Comprehensive Services Act in order to change the lives of at-risk youth. Guests included William A. Hazel, Jr., M.D., who currently serves as Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources, and members of the State Executive Council and the governor’s office.
The partnership between the Virginia Tech Richmond Center and The Office of Comprehensive Services continues to grow as work has begun on planning the 2013 Second Annual Commonwealth of Virginia CSA Conference. The conference will return to Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center April 30 though May 1 and is projected to attract almost 100 vendors and more than 600 participants.
More information on the 2012 conference can be found on the website.
*The Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth and Families (CSA) is a law enacted in 1993 that establishes a single state pool of funds to purchase services for at-risk youth and their families. The state funds, combined with local community funds, are managed by local interagency teams who plan and oversee services to youth. The mission of the CSA is to create a collaborative system of services and funding that is child-centered, family-focused and community-based when addressing the strengths and needs of troubled and at-risk youth and their families in the Commonwealth.
The Office of Comprehensive Services (OCS) is the administrative entity responsible for implementation of the CSA. OCS envisions CSA as a national model in providing an effective and innovative system of care statewide for at-risk youth and families. We strive for CSA to be highly regarded as a leader in: improving outcomes for children and their families; facilitating the highest quality technical assistance and training to strengthen the capacity of communities to implement CSA; maintaining high standards for sound fiscal accountability and responsible use of taxpayer funds; and partnering with families and all CSA stakeholders to implement best practices and technology to continually improve the performance of CSA. OCS strives to maintain an enthusiastic, creative and knowledgeable staff empowered to work with CSA stakeholders to sustain the highest quality system of care for Virginia’s youth and their families.