Circles of Care Mental Health Grants for Youth and Families

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) is soliciting applications for fiscal year 2011 awards under its Circles of Care for Mental Health Services for American Indian/Alaska Native Communities (Circles of Care) grants.

Under this program tribes and Indian organizations are to plan and design holistic mental health services for children and youth and their families. It is based on a delivery model called Systems of Care in which broad community partnerships and family involvement in the treatment are the foundation for helping seriously mentally ill youth. SAMHSA has titled the tribal-specific planning grants as Circles of Care, and has provided such grants since 1999. SAMHSA collaborates with the Indian Health Service and the National Institutes of Mental Health to fund Systems of Care projects.

Pending Congress’s action in finalizing fiscal year 2011 appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA expects to have $2.178 million for seven awards. The maximum annual amount is $311,140 and the project period may be up to three years. There is no match required and the age at which youth may be served has been increased to 25. Another change is that a certain amount of funding
(30 percent) may be used for direct services if it assists in developing the infrastructure for coordinated mental health services. Eligible applicants are federally- and state-recognized tribes and Indian organizations. Previous Circles of Care grantees are not eligible applicants. The deadline for receipt of applications is May 31, 2011.

Attached is a summary which links to the full grant announcement. The SAMHSA website has a significant amount of information regarding the Systems of Care approach to providing mental health services for youth, including its 2000 report “Systems of Care: Promising Practices in Children’s Mental Health: Cultural Strengths and Challenges in Implementing a System of Care Model in American Indian Communities.”

Of related interest is that the President requested in the FY 2012 SAMHSA budget that $50 million be allocated to tribes from the new Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund) established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The grants would be called the Behavioral Health – Tribal Prevention Grants, and their purpose is to promote overall behavioral health by preventing substance abuse and by preventing suicides. The money for this Fund is an entitlement and thus not subject to the appropriations process. There is effort by some in Congress to make the Fund subject to the appropriations process and if that happens, it may mean that these funds will not materialize.

Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding the matters in this Memorandum.