Timed with Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released the 2011 Short Report. SAMHSA addresses the needs of children and youth exposed to traumatic events through many of its programs. Two programs are highlighted in this report. The Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program (Children’s Mental Health Initiative, or CMHI), established by an act of Congress in 1992, funds grantee agencies to apply the system of care approach, a conceptual and philosophical framework for systemic reform of children’s mental health services. A “system of care” is anorganizational philosophy and framework that is designed to create a network of effective community-based services and supports to improve the lives of children and youth with or at risk of serious mental health conditions and their families. Systems of care build meaningful partnerships with families and youth, address cultural and linguistic needs, and use evidence-based practices to help children, youth, and families function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life.
The Donald J. Cohen National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI) is a national initiative that aims to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for children and youth throughout the United States who have experienced trauma. SAMHSA developed the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), a network of grantees from academic, clinical, and community entities that collaborate to develop, disseminate, and provide training on evidence-based practices; integrate trauma-informed treatment and practices into all child-serving systems; and promote and deliver effective community programs for children and families exposed to traumatic events.