Betty Petersilia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), retired from direct practice since 2018. She has worked with and on behalf of children, youth, and families for more than 40 years, initially as a Child Protective Services investigator with Fairfax County’s (VA) Department of Social Services. She then began her lengthy career as a direct mental health service provider, a community educator, a manager of Youth and Family outpatient behavioral health services with the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board on the Richmond Highway Corridor and the Annandale area, and eventually a program manager for Fairfax County’s Healthy Minds Fairfax office. Healthy Minds Fairfax is a county wide initiative working with multiple county agencies, the school system and private treatment providers helping youth and families access mental health and substance use services and improve the quality of those services. Betty earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from George Mason University and her Master’s in Social Service Administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
In retirement, Betty found a new but familiar challenge. As part of her work with Healthy Minds Fairfax, she facilitated the Underserved Populations workgroup which identified the Richmond Highway Corridor as a “mental health desert” for children, youth, and families for a myriad of reasons. When her professional colleague, Felicea Meyer DeLoatch, LCSW, approached her about working together to develop and bring a much-needed non-profit inclusive mental health clinic, serving children, youth, and families, to the Alexandria/Richmond Highway area, she signed on to help make it happen. She anticipates The Growth and Healing HUB will be launched in early summer 2022.