Morning Zen

Block Grant recommendations – Let’s keep it simple…

September 07, 2012

There is so much to be said about the 2014 – 2015 Uniform Application for the Mental Health Block Grant and Substance Abuse Block Grant that it is hard to know where to begin. Which is why we have decided to keep our comments to SAMHSA simple and to the point. The bulk of the recommendations come from our commentary about a month ago. The biggest addition to the original set of recommendations is the first bullet which calls for transparency in the block grant planning process. Yes, the block grant requires some of this already but we have heard too many accounts from Network faithful across the country who tell us repeatedly that it is very difficult to find out how the process works and who is involved. Basically, we want to add a little Texas Pete to help make the process accessible to all.

Here is what we are suggesting SAMHSA include. You can download our recommendation letter to SAMHSA here.

Comments on the Uniform Application for the Mental Health Block Grant and Substance Abuse Block Grant FY 2014-2015 Application (OMB No. 0930-0168)

Recommendation One: Full public transparency in all block grant planning processes
States and Territories will be required to post on a publicly accessible website the following information:

  • Composition of membership of block grant planning committee Website information shall include names of individuals, constituency and/or agency representation (family, youth, adult, etc).
  • Announcement of Block Grant meetings and inclusion of time for public comment Announcements of block grant meetings will include encouragement for the public to attend. Block grant meetings shall include time on the agenda for public comment.
  • Process utilized for arriving at funding recommendations – The process used to develop and implement Block Grant funding decisions will be fully described.

Recommendation Two: Equity in funding between child and adult mental health services

Block grant plans will exhibit equity in funding for children’s mental health services that is proportional to each state’s child/youth population at a minimum but also takes into account level of need of children and youth with serious emotional challenges and their families. 

Recommendation Three: Comprehensive Care Coordination

Comprehensive care coordination for children and youth with serious emotional challenges and their families will be considered a funding priority.

Recommendation Four: Wraparound Child and Family Teams 

Wraparound Child and Family Teams will be supported as the vehicle to develop family-driven and youth-guided plans to further coordinate a family driven, youth guided, comprehensive community-based ongoing service planning and implementation process.

Recommendation Five: Agency Contracts Must be Monitored

Contracting between the state and local entities must include language and conditions that support the active utilization of Wraparound Child and Family Teams, Care Review, as well as other areas that support system of care principles. The responsible organization must monitor all service provider organizations to ensure adherence to active utilization of wraparound child and family teams and care review.

Recommendation Six: Family and Youth Partners

Specific funding strategies will be identified to support youth and family support like Family Partners or Youth Peer Support who provide informal care coordination, navigation, engagement and linkage to services for children, youth and families.

Recommendation Seven: Care Review Process
A community based Care Review process must be in place with active representative participation and responsibility from all major child-serving agencies, organizations, youth and families.

Recommendation Eight: Family-Driven and Youth-Guided

Plans will embrace a family-driven and youth-guided approach, which requires among other things:

  • Stigma reduction
 – A clear plan to reduce stigma and engage in community-based health promotion activities.
  • Family and youth involvement in Governance
 – Clear evidence of parents and youth involved in local governance around the design and delivery of services and supports to youth with emotional challenges and their families.

Now it’s your turn. We encourage you to send in letters as well. Make sure you get your response in by September 11, 2012.

  • Written comments are to be submitted to Ms. Summer King, SAMHSA Reports Clearance Officer, Room 2–1057, 1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, Maryland 20857 or e-mail comments to

We encourage you to read what we have sent as well as go back and review our previous posts on the block grant conundrum to help you prepare your own comments:

For the data geeks among us (present company included), here are two links for you to peruse.

FY 2014-2015 Information

You can do your part to encourage your children’s directors and commissioners to do the right thing by contacting them and letting them know. Contact information for each group is below:

The Network will do our part by tracking block grant development in all 50 states. It is time that children’s mental health funding receives it’s fair share in not just a few states, but in all states. Children’s mental health is in danger of being squeezed – your voice is needed. Here are three immediate things you can do to help:

  • Find out how you can get on your block grant planning committee. Call your Children and Youth representative to find out how to do this.
  • Participate in block grant meetings. Even if you are not invited, they are open to the public, so show up.
  • Advocate for increased children’s mental health funding.
Explore More Posts

What Do You Think?

Join the conversation to be the first to respond to Block Grant recommendations – Let’s keep it simple…

Click here to join the conversation