Building Bridges Initiative

ACRC Becomes Home of the Building Bridges Initiative

After nearly two decades of partnering, the two leading organizations in the therapeutic residential and community services space officially unite under one umbrella to better serve children and families.


(MINNEAPOLIS) – The Association of Children’s Residential and Community services (ACRC) and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) announced today that they are formally joining forces to amplify their efforts to drive equity, ensure quality, and center the voices of those with lived experience in the policies and practices of residential and community services for youth and families.

The strategic alliance, announced during ACRC’s 67th annual conference, underscores how closely the two organizations have worked together for the past 17 years. The move will combine the boards, staffs and resources into one organization. The known synergies will allow ACRC and BBI to grow their reach and deepen their impact.

“By creating a home for BBI in ACRC, this strategic alliance will bring us even closer together, and it will serve as an intentional and beneficial alignment on behalf of children, youth and families who are experiencing some of the most challenging times of their lives,” said Kari Sisson, ACRC executive director.

For BBI’s Mark Nickell, who will serve as the organization’s director of strategic initiatives, it comes down to the power to change and be changed.

“The timing is right, and everything aligned. It all feels so cosmic,” he said. “Together we will be better positioned to actively influence the national and international conversation about how to best support thriving youth and families along the continuum of residential and community services.”

ACRC’s board president, David Wallace, LCSW-R, who has worked closely with both organizations over the course of his career in child welfare, juvenile justice and mental health, believes in the multiplier effect the two will have on the field.

“We truly will be, together, the voice,” said Wallace. “Our teams and resources will be integrated, making the whole greater than the sum of our parts. So, now, when our members or partners reach out to one of us, they’ll be getting both of us.”

BBI’s board chair Okpara Rice, MSW, believes this is the right move to continue elevating the voice of the youth and families who have received mental and behavioral health services.

“Our goal has always been to impact community and residential service providers, as well as oversight agencies, in an effort to improve the experience people have when accessing care,” said Rice. “Coming together like this, as one focused organization on behalf of youth and families, will only make their voices resonate more.”


About ACRC: ACRC envisions youth and families thriving in their homes and communities with uncompromised access to high-quality residential and community-based interventions in a robust continuum of care. Since 1956, ACRC has worked in the United States and internationally to promote youth-guided, family-driven, research-based innovative treatment and best practices in the field.

About BBI: Building Bridges is a national initiative founded in 2006 to identify and promote best practices and policy that will create strong and closely coordinated partnerships and collaborations between families, youth, advocates, community and residential service providers, and oversight agencies, leading to sustained, positive outcomes.

BBI Technical Assistance and Training


Train the Trainer Curriculum

This Curriculum will enhance stakeholders’ capacity to enhance the knowledge and skills of employees who work with youth and families.


Transformational Change Readiness Toolkit

The BBI Transformational Change Readiness Assessment Tool (CRAT) was developed by BBI as a guide for organizations to use in addressing change.


BBI Fair-Market Rate Setting Methodology

Designed for use by agencies, organizations, communities, and jurisdictions (e.g., state and county governments) involved in transforming and improving how community-based behavioral healthcare services are provided to children and adolescents, and their families.


Self-Assessment Tools

This BBI survey assesses the supports and services provided to children and adolescents (sometimes referred to as ‘child’, ‘children’ or ‘youth’ throughout this document) and families receiving a residential intervention.


Six Core Strategies© Virtual Training Program

The Six Core Strategies© is an evidence-based practice to prevent violence, trauma, and the use of seclusion, restraint, and other coercive practices.


BBI Workgroups


Leaders of Color Project

The BBI Leaders of Color workgroup together they have written three position papers including the most recent one with a focus on navigating homogenous cultures within our field and the distinct challenges leaders of color face.



Voices from the Field

At the 67th Annual ACRC Conference, we announced a new strategic alliance between ACRC and BBI. Joining forces will elevate our impact. But don’t just take our word for it. Watch this video to hear from leaders, friends, and partners of both organizations about how this integration serves as an intentional and beneficial alignment on behalf of children, youth, and families.


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