Stairways in the News

Stairways Names New Executive Director

Monday, January 26, 2015

Erie, PA  – The Stairways Behavioral Health Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Valerie Vicari will serve as the organization’s new Executive Director. Vicari will assume leadership of the community mental health care provider in early February, 2015.

“Valerie brings to Stairways a distinguished career leading and managing behavioral health programs,” said Dr. Kristine Nelson, Stairways Behavioral Health Board President. “We are confident that Valerie will help move our organization forward, as well as focus on client needs first and foremost.”

Vicari has served in progressive leadership roles for 15 years with the PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), including her most recent position as Director of the Division of Western Operations, with oversight of mental health programs in 46 counties across Western and Central Pennsylvania.

Vicari has been a leader in the implementation and management of the Pennsylvania Medicaid managed care program, HealthChoices. She has been instrumental in the development and statewide expansion of evidence based practices such as the Assertive Community Teams and Certified Peer Specialist programs.  

Vicari’s broad experience in federal and commonwealth health care reform initiatives will help keep Stairways properly positioned in a rapidly changing health care landscape.

“I believe individuals with behavioral health diagnosis can and should live in the community of their choice, with the very best treatment services wrapped around them,” said Vicari. “This can only happen when financially sustainable organizations, like Stairways, are rooted in best practices, and have clear expectations and outcomes to support their programs.”

Vicari received her undergraduate education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Masters degree at Carlow College, Pittsburgh, Pa., in Professional Leadership for Management, Non-Profit Concentration.

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William F. Mccarthy Of Stairways Behavioral Health Named To State Child Advocacy Board

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) is a trusted, effective voice for the Commonwealth’s 2.7 million children.

Erie, Pa. (September 30, 2013) --- William F. McCarthy, President and CEO of Stairways Behavioral Health, has been named to the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC). Founded in 1992, PPC is a statewide advocacy organization with an agenda that spans the life of a child – from birth to adulthood – and encompasses a multi-faceted approach to ensure child well-being.

PPC has earned a reputation as a trusted, effective voice for the commonwealth’s 2.7 million children, with numerous public policy victories over more than 20 years that have expanded early learning opportunities, improved children’s access to health care, kept children safer and improved our schools.

PPC is independent, non-partisan and research driven, working effectively with all sides toward the goal of crafting effective public policies that help children thrive and succeed, regardless of circumstances.

McCarthy is the President and CEO of Stairways Behavioral Health, a provider of mental health services to Erie County residents for more than 50 years. He began his Stairways career 40 years ago and served in a variety of positions to become its leader in 1998. During his tenure as CEO, Stairways expanded services to Crawford County. As a therapist, he has over 40 years of experience counseling families, couples and individuals.

For more information about the group, visit

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) now among the nation’s largest health, human services trade groups


Erie, Pa. (July 9, 2013) --- William F. McCarthy, President and CEO of Stairways Behavioral Health, has been named to serve on the board of directors of the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA), a new association that will be among the largest state health and human services trade groups in the nation.


“This really is a landmark moment for the provider community,” said RCPA President and CEO Richard Edley, Ph.D. “We’re really fortunate to have someone with Bill McCarthy’s skills and experience to help guide us as we head into this new era of service and advocacy.”


RCPA was created by a merger between the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (PARF) and the Pennsylvania Community Providers Association (PCPA). Members of the two organizations met separately and voted unanimously to approve the merger, which takes effect July 1. The two associations, which share a long history of cooperation and partnerships, began exploring the merger in 2009.


The board will meet later this month to set its schedule and agenda for the coming year.


As a single entity, RCPA will continue the associations’ joint missions to enhance advocacy, education, project support, public information and policy development for the benefit of individuals with mental health and intellectual disabilities, addictive diseases and rehabilitation needs, and expand networking and training for association members.


Founded in 1972, PCPA is a statewide association that promotes a community-based, responsive and viable system of agencies providing quality services for individuals receiving mental health, intellectual disability, addictive disease and other related human services. PCPA represents more than 225 community-based agencies that provide mental health, intellectual and developmental disability, and substance use disorder services for children and adults. Members operate in all 67 counties and serve more than 1 million Pennsylvanians per year.


Since 1969, PARF has been actively working to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities. With more than 90 members in Pennsylvania, PARF’s facilities serve individuals with physical, mental, social and/or emotional disabilities. PARF members offer services and programs that include medical, psychological, social, residential, educational, vocational and employment rehabilitation.


For more information about the groups, visit



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