New CEOs at Special Commitment Center, Child Study and Treatment Center

Release Date: 
May 06 2019
DSHS Office of Communications
Chris Wright
(360) 628-1043

OLYMPIA – The Department of Social and Health Services today announced new leadership within its Behavioral Health Administration at both the Special Commitment Center (SCC) on McNeil Island and the Child Study Treatment Center (CSTC) in Lakewood.

David Flynn will serve as Chief Executive Officer at the Special Commitment Center, effective June 1. Flynn has decades of experience working in institutions, most recently at the Department of Corrections.

“We are thrilled for Dave to come on board as CEO of the Special Commitment Center,” said Assistant Secretary for DSHS BHA, Sean Murphy. “His leadership and decades of experience working in institutions will ensure that safety and treatment remain a prime focus there.”

Flynn steps in for outgoing Special Commitment Center CEO Sjan Talbot. Talbot accepted a position as Deputy Assistant Secretary for DSHS’s Behavioral Health Administration.

Beginning July 1, Tony Bowie will begin his tenure as Chief Executive Officer at the Child Study and Treatment Center, a psychiatric hospital for children. Bowie has spent nearly three years working at the Special Commitment Center as the Director of Transition and Accountability and, most recently, Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Prior to that, he was a counselor and administrator at several of the state’s juvenile rehabilitation facilities.

“Tony’s background working with kids, as well as serving as an administrator in a complex and challenging setting like the SCC made him the ideal candidate to continue the great work going on at the Child Study and Treatment Center,” said Murphy. “His approach to leadership and dedication to providing the best services available to our clients will make him a valued addition to the kids and families who find hope at the CSTC.”

Bowie replaces retiring Child Study and Treatment Center CEO Dr. Rick Mehlman who held that position for the past 30 years.

“Dr. Mehlman has been an incredible leader for the agency. His first 10 years were spent as a psychologist in the Adult Psychiatric Unit at Western State Hospital,” said Murphy. “He is an icon within the organization and while at Western really put the forensics program on the map, not just in our state but nationwide.”

The Behavioral Health Administration oversees the state’s three psychiatric facilities--Eastern and Western state hospitals and the Child Study and Treatment Center--along with the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services.

About the Special Commitment Center: After several high-profile cases involving sexually violent predators in Washington state, the Legislatures enacted the Community Protection Act in 1990, which created the Special Commitment Center. Housed on McNeil Island, the SCC provides specialized mental health treatment program for civilly committed sexually violent offenders who have completed their prison sentences. In each of its facilities, the SCC employs a variety of stringent public safety and security measures to provide for the community’s safety.

About the Child Study Treatment Center: Located in Lakewood, the Child Study and Treatment Center is the only state-operated and funded psychiatric hospital for children who have psychological and safety needs that cannot be met in their community. The CSTC provides culturally competent care to children and youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders that are typically complicated by medical, social, legal and developmental issues.




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