Our Team

The National Federation currently employs individuals dedicated to fulfilling the organization's mission with their skills covering a wide range of areas including social marketing, policy, leadership, and technical assistance.

Dr. Lynda Gargan serves as the Executive Director for the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.  Throughout her career, she has worked across the nation providing technical assistance and training to ensure that all individuals are afforded the opportunity to live in the community of their choice. Dr. Gargan served as the Project Manager and Project Director, respectively, for two Federal Supported Employment Technical Assistance Centers.  She more recently served as CEO for an agency specializing in Intensive In-Home Family Therapy services. Dr. Gargan has a wealth of experience in community-based behavioral health at the local, state, and national levels. She has a rich background in field research, including longitudinal studies in multiple class action law suits. Dr. Gargan currently serves as a partner in the national evaluation of System of Care grantees. She also serves as principle collaborator with the NASMHPD Technical Assistance Coalition.


Drawing upon both her personal and professional experiences, Dr. Gargan serves as a tireless champion for the mission and vision of the Federation. Under her guidance, the National Federation has fully operationalized the Parent Support Provider Certification Initiative, an innovative peer support workforce initiative that utilizes the lived experience and specialized training of parents to assist and empower families who are raising children and youth with behavioral health challenges.

Executive Director


Michelle Covington serves as Project Manager for the Federation, leading national initiatives. Michelle evaluates policies, legislation, funding and advocacy opportunities at both the national and state level for Federation affiliates.  She works closely with affiliates and serves as a liaison for membership at the state and national levels. She comes to the Federation with 25 years of service in Children’s Mental Health.


During her 14 years as Director of Community Based Services for Children at Centerstone in Tennessee (TN), she provided leadership for case management, mobile therapy, intensive in-home services, respite care and grant programs providing intensive in-home services to drug affected families.  Through her work with the TN Association of Mental Health Organizations, where she served on the Children and Youth Committee for over 10 years, she evaluated policies and laws that would affect services and supports for children and brings those skills to the Federation.

Michelle comes to the Federation with 25 years of experience providing community mental health services to families. She has a Bachelor’s in Social Work and a Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling. As the proud mother of two children, Michelle is dedicated to meeting the needs of all children and families to help them achieve their greatest potential.

Project Manager


Kelsey has always had a passion for children and families. Her career has been in service to giving them a voice. After graduating from the University of Virginia she spent 11 years working in nonprofit, private school administration, which took her to Arizona in 2008. Working in education drew Kelsey’s attention particularly to children who have special needs as she met with many parents who struggled to access, navigate and integrate the services their children needed at school and at home. Drawn to working with more vulnerable populations, Kelsey found a home at the Family Involvement Center, a family-run organization in Arizona.


Working for a family-run organization, Kelsey was inspired by the family movement. She came to understand the importance of family involvement while working with Peer Parent Support Partners and parent leaders across Arizona. She also collaborated with family-run organizations and community partners to expand Arizona’s state wide annual Children’s Mental Health Awareness campaign.


Kelsey comes to the Federation with a Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology and a Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She has a personal commitment to promoting the principles and values of family involvement. She is a wife and mother to a young son as well as three rescue pets. Kelsey is passionate about improving services and supports for children and families, and about elevating the conversation around the importance of children's mental health.

Project Manager


Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Leann holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh and an LMSW from the State of Maryland. Her areas of expertise include caregiving, hospice, bereavement, widowhood and dementia care. In addition to social work, her experience includes community outreach, marketing, volunteer management, events planning and older adult wellness programming.

For several years, she applied her social work skills in Hartford, CT alongside her late husband, an architect specializing in accessibility design for the disabled. She also coordinated literacy programs for low-income Hartford public school children and worked for several years as a social worker and volunteer director in long-term care facilities.

In her leisure time, she enjoys hiking, exploring Maryland towns, browsing antique shops, playing guitar, trying new recipes and spending time with her nieces.

Leann is excited and honored to be an integral part of the NFFCMH as it expands to serve more individuals and families in need of mental health services and support.

Project Coordinator


© 2017 National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

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