LA MFT 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 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 Associate.

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 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 degree 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 waived the issuance of 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 has not determined if it will waive the Stipend Program for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 or award educational stipends. Once the county has made decision regarding their stipend program for FY 2021-22, the members of the Greater LA Consortium will be informed, and the notice posted on this website. 

2019-2020 LA County MFT Stipend Program

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health awarded 73 educational stipends of $18,500 in the 2019-2020 academic year. Currently, Phillips is monitoring the stipend recipients for twelve months of employment compliance at an approved public mental health facility. All but one of the recipients have secured full-time employment as an MFT Associate in a county-contracted mental health agency. They were successful in obtaining employment during the COVID-19 shut down and have provided primarily online treatment services from home. As of September 2021, 47 recipients have already completed 12 months of employment and decided to continue their employment service at their public mental health provider. One recipient withdrew due to personal reasons and refunded the amount awarded.

Updated September 16, 2021