DSHS names new Assistant Secretary for Behavioral Health Administration

Release Date: 
Feb 28 2018
DSHS Office of Communications
Kelly Stowe
(360) 902-7739

OLYMPIA – The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) announced today that Ken Taylor is the new Assistant Secretary for the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA).

Taylor is taking over the role previously held by Carla Reyes, who is leaving DSHS after 20 years, almost three of which leading BHA, to pursue other opportunities.

“We are so grateful for the leadership from Carla Reyes over the Behavioral Health Administration for the past three years,” said Cheryl Strange, DSHS secretary. “She has laid a pathway for reform that Ken Taylor will now take the lead in further shaping. I am very grateful for Ken’s experience in not only behavioral health, but also health care more broadly. There is much work to do in our state’s psychiatric hospitals, as well as transforming our forensic and civil mental health services within Washington state. Ken’s previous success and experience in leading complex change at a state government level is the next step in making sure our clients are getting the right treatment at the right time in the right environment. We are excited for this next phase in the transformation of BHA.”

Most recently, Taylor served as Chief Executive Officer for Valley Cities – an outpatient mental health provider that’s been serving South King County for over 50 years. Under his leadership, Valley Cities increased its bed capacity and created a system of same-day services for mental health, substance use disorders and psychiatric evaluations, giving increased access to behavioral health systems and decreasing wait times for clients. Prior to that, Ken served as the Assistant Secretary of Health Services for the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) where he led the development of health care reform within the DOC under then Deputy Secretary Cheryl Strange.

“Ken is no stranger to reform. He was never one to shy away from a tough task or make the hard calls. Today’s behavioral health environment is full of huge risk and opportunity and Ken is the right guy for this next set of challenges we face,” added Strange.

Taylor received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Social Work from the University of Maryland.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the Behavioral Health Administration,” said Taylor. “There is a lot of great work being done and lots more to do. I hope my experience will lend itself to the continued transformation of our state hospitals and the development of our forensic services.”

Taylor officially begins his role March 1, 2018.

BHA transforms lives by supporting sustainable recovery, independence and wellness through funding and supporting effective prevention and intervention services for youth and families and treatment and recovery support for youth and adults with addiction and mental health conditions (also known as behavioral health). It operates three state psychiatric hospitals that deliver high-quality services to adults and children with complex needs.



DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.