Update to the block grant discussion

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Can someone help us understand why the unified block grant process feels like some sort of MI-5 black ops mission to those of us involved in the children's mental health world? We do love our Brit shows. Lately we have been hearing from Network faithful on this topic more than just about any other.

Well, to begin with, here is an update from our call to action sent out to you two weeks ago:

The National Conference: State Systems Development Program (SSDP) was held last week in Baltimore. This is basically the Lollapalooza for block grant administrators. Here is how the meeting was described in written materials:

On behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the State divisions within the Center for Mental Health Services, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment are planning to convene a national meeting of its State partners who are responsible for planning and carrying out prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for individuals, families, and communities impacted by mental and substance use disorders.

The SAMHSA national conference is organized to provide practical interactive discussions;  share practical tools, information and materials; presentations on federal initiatives and strategies, discussion on lessons learned and encourage State-program level collaborations and networking with colleagues across the country.

The agenda for the meeting included quite an array of topics - wish we were there! If you attended, let us know what you learned, specifically as it relates to ensuring funding equity for children's mental health services supported by block grant dollars. We keep searching the agenda for a focus on this topic but can't find it, so help us out Network faithful.

As mentioned above, we put out a call to action for comment on the block grant announcement two weeks ago, and folks are beginning to respond. You can see our initial recommendations in the link above. We will have more detailed recommendations next week.

We were pleased to learn that the members of the Children, Youth and Family Division of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) discussed the block grant and are working up a set of recommendations to NASMHPD as well. We made sure to pepper them with our recommendations while at the Georgetown Training Institutes.

Network faithful can do their part to encourage children's directors and commissioners to do the right thing by contacting them and letting them know. Contact information for each group is below:


  1. Shannon Crossbear's avatar
    Shannon Crossbear
    | Permalink
    Let's not forget to contact your Substance Abuse Authority in each state as well. Adolscent Substance abuse treatment/ co-occurring treatment and recovery needs to be part of the conversation and advocacy efforts especially with the push toward an integrated BH system. One brain/one body.
  2. Lu Ann Reese's avatar
    Lu Ann Reese
    | Permalink
    I will start my work on this on Tuesday at the Department of Mental Health's Children's Office meeting. Years ago i was the Chair of our State Advisory Committee and have been concerned since then about the lack of concentration to children's MH issues and needs, but more importantly the disparities in the percentage of Block Grant Dollars used to help support more BG funding to children's services. Wish me Luck.

    Let me know how I can help.
    Lu Ann
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