We have news about the Healthy Transitions Initiative funding... and you're not gonna like it...

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As faithful readers know, we have been sending correspondence to Senator Harkin of the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies enquiring about the disappearance of the Healthy Transitions Initiative funding in the Senate Appropriations Bill. I want to extend a personal note of thanks to Subcommittee staffer Lisa Bernhardt for a candid and very helpful phone call yesterday that shed important light on what happened with the Healthy Transitions Initiative funding. If you have not yet read our analysis of the mystery of the missing HTI funding you should read it first as it will give you important context for this Morning Zen post.

Here are two of the six questions we posed in our letter to Senator Harkin with a summary of Ms. Bernhardt's response and my reaction:

I did not pursue the remaining questions we had posed in our letter to Senator Harkin, as it was clear that, even though we may disagree with the decision to propose funding for the identified treatment approaches through the block grant, other groups had effectively provided a rationale that the Senate subcommittee agreed with. However, all is not lost. This battle has just begun. There are three important takeaways from the conversation with Ms. Bernhardt yesterday that will help guide our efforts from this point on:

Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
Children’s Mental Health Network


  1. Nicole Deschenes's avatar
    Nicole Deschenes
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    Scott: Thank you for contacting Senator Harkin on our behalf in regard to the Healthy Transitions Initiative (HTI) funding. The response you received is indeed disappointing but what is even more disappointing to me is to learn that the documentation submitted by SAMHSA pertaining to the Healthy Transitions Initiative was the "least articulated" request, that it was "vague and amorphous."

    I am also very concerned with the fact that not one advocate had spoken up on behalf of the Healthy Transitions Initiative until you communicated on behalf of the Children's Mental Health Network on August 16th. I agree with you -- it is quite difficult to be hard on the Senate subcommittee if no one is speaking out on behalf of the Healthy Transitions Initiative. We need to learn to be better advocate in the future for youth and young adults who need supports and services during their transition to adulthood. Quite sad and disappointing indeed.
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