Dr. Leta D. Smith
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About Leta D. Smith, Ph.D.
Dr. Leta D. Smith has demonstrated more than 30 years of successful leadership across the continuum of care and treatment. Dr. Smith has founded, managed, and monitored major organizations and programs addressing the serious and complex mental health and co-occurring needs of children, youth, and families in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, and their communities. ​

Dr. Smith’s experience includes serving as the:

  • ​Director of Program Operations for Community Oriented Correctional Healthcare Services (COCHS) providing more seamless correctional healthcare systems for offenders cycling between jails, prisons, and the community

  • Clinical Operations Specialist for MHM Services Inc. providing consultation, monitoring, RFP development, and training regarding statewide correctional mental health and medical programs for states including MA, TN, CT, GA, MI, MO, IN, AL

  • Independent Expert Monitor on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families as well as the Office of Child Advocate over New Jersey’s largest private provider of community-based treatment services for their most needy and troubled children and youth

  • Mental Health Expert Team Monitor in the federal class action lawsuit concerning the inadequacies of Ohio’s juvenile justice mental health system (S.H.et al.v Stickrath) 

  • First and founding Director of Mental Health Services and Priority Initiatives for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services providing overall leadership, development and supervision of the NYS mental health system of care and treatment for children and youth in 33 juvenile facilities and under community supervision

  • NYS Director of Forensics for Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities inclusive of new initiatives to provide care and treatment for children and families with a range of behavioral healthcare needs

  • Director of Community Services for Central New York March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation for children and families with healthcare and co-occurring disorders

  • Founding Executive Director of a private not-for-profit court-based diversion program to prevent unnecessary out-of home placement and institutionalization and to provide mental health, substance abuse, and other needed services for adults and youth in their communities

  • NYS Assembly Administrative Analyst for Assembly Speaker concerning legislative proposals for mental health, juvenile and criminal justice

  • NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner’s Special Projects Manager for statewide operations and budget pertaining to Children and Youth, and Forensics

  • NYS Senate Commission on Child Welfare Project Leader to develop legislative reform of NYS PINS / status offender, juvenile and child welfare jurisdictions


Community Leadership Service:

Dr. Smith has served as President of the Board of Education of a large NYS School District; Member of the Community Budget Advisory Committee; and was honored with an appointment to the National Juvenile Healthcare Committee of the National Commission of Correctional Healthcare.

Dr. Smith is a member of the Editorial Board of the Correctional Mental Health Report.
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