About Us

The United Health Foundation Training Institute at Washburn Center for Children


The United Health Foundation Training Institute at Washburn Center for Children provides introductory and advanced training to children’s mental health clinicians, interns and professionals in related fields such as education, pediatrics, health care, child welfare and childcare.

The impact

In partnership with the United Health Foundation, Washburn Center for Children launched an innovative, children’s mental health training
program that will:

  • Enhance the emotional health of children and families
  • Increase training opportunities for professionals working with children across the nation
  • Develop a nationally recognized training site for children’s mental health interns

In its first two years, this innovative initiative – made possible through a $3 million grant from the United Health Foundation – has provided 18,264 hours of training and consultation to 817 professionals and trainees in 23 states.

Training matters

Effective training can have a significant impact on the quality of care a child receives. Washburn Center for Children believes investing in comprehensive training for children’s mental health professionals will dramatically increase the number of clinicians in Minnesota who provide high quality services based on best practice standards. This will result in improved client outcomes and satisfaction.

The vision

An intensive organization-wide training program integrated with services in a children’s community mental health center and combined with continuous evaluation of mental health outcomes is unique and unprecedented. The vision of the United Health Foundation Institute at Washburn Center for Children is to:

  • Improve progress and outcomes by increasing access to the most effective, evidence-based mental health services
  • Transform the training, practice and expertise of the children’s mental health workforce in Minnesota, and
  • Create a replicable national model for integrating children’s mental health evidence-based practices in training, practice and evaluation to enhance the mental health care experience of children across the country

Evaluating the impact of comprehensive training

Washburn Center has partnered with OptumInsight and the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota to evaluate the impact of training, quality of care, client satisfaction and improvement in a child’s functioning.

The University’s initial evaluation found that on average “children served by Washburn Center benefit greatly throughout their treatment services” and “by caregiver report, the social, emotional and behavioral functioning of children served at Washburn Center improved in clinically meaningful ways over the course of treatment.”

Training Institute Milestones

The United Health Foundation Training Institute at Washburn Center for Children builds on Washburn Center’s long history of equipping mental health professionals with the best practices of children’s mental health services. Since its start in 2014, the Training Institute has accomplished several significant milestones:

  • Provided five trainings on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Minnesota, California, Iowa and Wisconsin
  • Created six computer-based trainings to offer professionals working with children foundational knowledge in children’s mental health
  • Held five PracticeWise trainings, including two in partnership with PracticeWise and the Minnesota Department of Human Services to train 80 Washburn Center and 64 external therapists
  • Entered an agreement for Washburn Center to be the official PracticeWise trainer for the state of Minnesota
  • Held in-person and live-streamed trainings in Developmental Repair and Trauma Ripple Effects for more than 530 participants across the nation
  • Trained a cohort of 19 Washburn Center therapists on Trauma-Informed Child-Parent Psychotherapy through seven days of introductory and advanced training

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Learn more about the partnership between Washburn Center for Children and United Health Foundation

Watch this video to learn more about The United Health Foundation commitment to ensuring children receive the mental health services they need to grow, thrive and achieve success at home, in school and life.