LA County Stipend Program

Since 2005 the Los Angeles County’s Department of Mental Health (County) has partnered with the MFT Consortium of Greater Los Angeles and Phillips Graduate University in recruiting MFT students for employment in the County’s mental health delivery system. During the period from 2005 to 2017 the County awarded 662 educational stipends to graduating MFT students. In accepting the stipends students commit to work for one year at a mental health agency operated or contracted by the Department of Mental Health as an MFT Intern.

Click here for a map displaying stipend recipients’ place of employment for the LA County Department of Mental Health MFT Stipend Program.

County Stipends Address Workforce Needs

The County stipend program for MFTs addresses the bilingual need for practitioners who could provide services in a language other than English. In the last six years the percentage of stipend recipients with a bilingual capacity ranged from 56 to 90. In addition, all of the stipend recipients had personal and work experience in the underserved communities of the County.

An extensive report on the County’s first five years of awarding educational stipends to MFT students concluded that the stipend program “made a significant contribution in addressing the Department of Mental Health’s workforce need for bilingual, multicultural clinicians working in diverse ethnic/racial communities and filling hard-to-hire positions.” (For the full report see CAMFT’s The Therapist, September/October 2010 issue.)

According to an earlier report (May 2008), “The partnership [between the MFT Consortium and the Los Angeles County] has made considerable strides in addressing the need for diversity in mental health workforce as outlined in the LAC DMH Internal Inventory.”

2020-2021 LA County MFT Stipend Program

LA County Department of Mental Health intends to suspend the MHSA WET Stipend Program for Fiscal Year 2020-2021.

The economic impact of COVID-19 is resulting in curtailments across County Departments, taking various forms depending upon the Department. Vacant positions within the Department of Mental Health are likely to be impacted, with hiring freezes being instituted. Reductions in the Department’s key funding streams (Realignment and MHSA) will have an impact on recruitment efforts throughout the Department’s entire system of care. Consequently, students being offered stipends will likely not have the ability to be hired and would be placed at risk of having to repay the stipends. DMH will re-evaluate the Stipend Program for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 later on this fiscal year as the economic impact from COVID becomes clearer. 

There is a Public Review and Comment Period from July 15, 2020 to August 13, 2020. 

Go to the LA County DMH website https://dmh.lacounty.gov/about/mhsa/announcements/ under “MHSA Annual Update Mid-Year Adjustment – Plan to Suspend MHSA WET Project: The Stipend Program” to provide comment. 

2019-2020 LA County MFT Stipend Program

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health will award up to 70 educational stipends of $18,500 to selected MFT students in the 2019-2020 academic year. The County has partnered with the MFT Consortium of Greater Los Angeles to address the County’s workforce need for qualified mental health practitioners capable of providing culturally and linguistically competent services in certain geographic areas or specialized treatment programs. Administration of the stipend program is provided by Phillips Graduate University.

Click here for application information for the 2019-2020 LA County MFT Stipend Program.

Answers to Anticipated Questions

  • If I am not bilingual do I qualify for the County stipend program? Yes. Language capacity is one of seven priorities in the selection of stipend recipients. The other priority areas include multicultural capacity, willingness to accept employment in a high need regional area, willingness to accept employment in a high need service program, current or prior DMH experience, specialized training serving Veterans, and specialized training serving older adults.

  • If I applied to the State Stipend Program can I also apply to the County Stipend Program? Yes. You may apply to both the State Stipend and the County Stipend. However, a separate application must be submitted for each. If you are selected for both the State and the County Stipends, you may only choose one. You will not be awarded both stipends.

  • If my school is not in Los Angeles County can I still apply? Yes. With these two requirements: 1) you need to attend a school that is a member of the MFT Consortium of Greater Los Angeles, and 2) if awarded a stipend, you need to secure employment in Los Angeles County with an agency operated or contracted by that County’s Department of Mental Health.

  • If I receive a county stipend, can I apply later for another one? No. Stipends are for graduate students. However, as an MFT Associate you may qualify for the Mental Health Loan Repayment Program offered through the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development – Health Professions Education Foundation. For more information, go to OSHPD’s website under Loan Repayment Programs and click on Licensed Mental Health Services Provider Education Program: https://oshpd.ca.gov/loans-scholarships-grants/loan-repayment/.

Contact mftconsortium@pgu.edu for any additional questions.