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Novata acquires autism service

Novata Behavioral Health, which provides outpatient services for mental health and alcohol and drug problems throughout Southern California, has expanded its focus into autism by acquiring the Scripps Ranch-based Center for Autism Research, Evaluation and Service, or CARES.

Terms of the acquisition, which was announced on Tuesday, were not released.

Under the acquisition, CARES -- which has 140 employees in Scripps Ranch, San Juan Capistrano, Temecula and El Centro -- will operate as a division of Novata, which in turn is a subsidiary of San Diego's Mental Health Systems, a 35-year-old nonprofit that operates more than 80 mental health and addiction programs throughout the state.

“The Novata-CARES partnership opens new doors to improving the quality of life for children and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families,” said Kimberly Bond, president and CEO of Mental Health Systems.

Mental Health Systems generates $80 million in revenue per year, with 800 employees -- not including the newly acquired CARES workers. Novata has nine offices in San Diego County, as well as four in the Inland Empire and one in Fresno.

Under the acquisition, CARES co-founder Kathie Sweeten will serve as vice president of Novata CARES and co-founder Alan Lincoln will be vice president of clinical services, focusing on a board-certified intern program, outpatient services and research.

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