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It’s time to hold block grant administrators accountable in a time of funding cuts

July 22, 2012

The request for comments regarding the proposed federal fiscal year (FY) 2014-2015 Uniform Application for the Mental Health Block Grant and Substance Abuse Block Grant is published in the July 13, 2012 edition of the Federal Register with a 60-day turnaround time.  The application document which includes both plan and reports has been posted below.

All written comments should be received within 60 days of the published date of this notice.  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 blockgrants@samhsa.hhs.gov.

FY 2014-2015 Information

SAMHSA just released the FY13 budget estimates. Although these have not been enacted and SAMHSA continues to instruct states to use the FY12 figure in their planning for FY13, these estimates indicate that most states will take reductions.

The Children’s Mental Health Network has high hopes that the members of the Children, Youth and Families Division of the National Association of State Mental Health Directors and the Commissioners they work for will come together in agreement on the following:

  • 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.

  • Comprehensive Care Coordination

    Comprehensive care coordination for children and youth with SED will be considered a funding priority.
  • Wraparound Child and Family Teams 

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

    Specific funding strategies need to be identified to support Family and Youth Partners (Peer Support) who provide informal care coordination, navigation, engagement and linkage to services for children, youth and families.
  • Care Review Process
    A community based Care Review process must be in place with active participation and responsibility from all major child-serving agencies, organizations, youth and families.
  • 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.
  • Family-driven and youth-guided

    Plans will embrace a family-driven and youth-guided approach, which requires among other things:
    • Stigma reduction
      Clear recognition of prevailing stigma around mental health and specific community-based steps to lessen it.
    • 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.

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.
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