Richard Knecht, MS

Advisory Board Member


Grass Valley, California




Richard Knecht, MS, brings more than 26 years of experience in health and human services to the OPEN MINDS team. His areas of expertise include operations management, strategic planning, integrated care modeling, and children and family services continuum of care.

Mr. Knecht currently provides technical and strategic consultation to the State of California as its Integrated Services Advisor. Previously, Mr. Knecht served as California’s first Transformation Manager to the state’s Department of Social Services and Department of Health Care Services. This unique assignment was focused on creating and facilitating a Shared Management Structure for child and youth-serving sectors and assuring an authentically consumer-centric design of litigated and legislated reform efforts.

Previously, Mr. Knecht was the Director of the Children’s System of Care for Placer County. In this role, he had senior management responsibilities for one of the country’s most highly regarded Systems of Care for Children. Placer’s model is widely considered to be among the premier integrated public service models for children in California and has been cited by system researchers as an effective integrated approach for public/private youth and family care delivery. As Director, he managed a budget of over $33M and was responsible for a staff of 200 who delivered comprehensive, evidence-based children’s mental health, probation, special education, and child protective services for nearly 4,200 children each year.

Prior to joining Placer County, Mr. Knecht held a number of positions with the River Oak Center for Children, including Senior V.P. of Operations and Director of Day Treatment Services. In his 9 years at River Oak, he directed many of this multi-site agency’s programs, in addition to leading the organization’s first JCAHO accreditation efforts.

Mr. Knecht began his career as a counselor, social worker, and therapist for a number of public and private practice organizations before joining Community Psychiatric Centers (CPC) Olympus View Hospital. In his four years at Olympus View, he served as the Director of Assessment & Case Management and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and interim CEO prior to CPC’s acquisition by Behavioral Healthcare Corporation (BHC) in 1997.

In addition, Mr. Knecht is a founding member and Board President of the Harmon Knecht Family Foundation, a charitable organization that seeks to empower local communities and individuals to give back and fosters positive, accountable social change. He also serves as the Board Chair for, the nation’s leader in providing digital supports, resources, and jobs for more than 40,000 foster youth.

Mr. Knecht earned his Master of Science in Marriage & Family Counseling from the California State University, Sacramento, and his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is a fellow of the Sierra Health Foundation’s/ Marshall School of Business (USC) Health Leadership Program

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