Families Reaching in Ever New Directions (FRIENDS)
Mott Haven, New York
September and November, 1994
The goals and objectives for the FRIENDS Initiative were developed during the writing of the grant with input from the community, the ACT Collaborative, and State and City representatives, all of whom participated in the development of the grant to outline the vision of the project. The three goals of the Initiative are to 1) ensure the full inclusion of Mott Haven families as equal partners in services planning, development, delivery, and evaluation; 2) develop a full system of culturally competent care for children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances in the Mott Haven community that builds on strengths, interests, and the community’s cultural diversity; and 3) assist the Mott Haven community in strengthening the infrastructure to ensure a flexible, culturally sensitive, and creative individualized service planning approach to delivering services to children and families.
The target population is determined by four criteria: children must have serious emotional disorders according to a mental health diagnosis printed in the DSM-IV; they must have experienced continuous, substantial, year-long impairment of functioning because of an emotional disorder or have exhibited severe symptoms within the past 30 days coupled with substantial impairments in functioning; they must be residents of Mott Haven; and they must be no older than 21 years of age. Since service delivery began in April 1996, approximately 300 children have been served by FRIENDS. The majority of children and families served are Latino, more specifically, Puerto Rican and Dominican, and the second-largest group is African American. These demographic proportions are in accordance with the racial/ethnic composition of the Mott Haven community.