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FY 2011 Grant Request for Applicationss (RFA)

Circles of Care V: Infrastructure Development for Children’s Mental Health Systems in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Communities (Short Title: Circles of Care Grants)

An informational webinar on this RFA was presented by SAMHSA on April 26, 2011.To download the presentation, or access the audio recording, please follow the instructions on this website:

Initial Announcement

Request for Applications (RFA) No. SM-11-007
Posting on April 1, 2011
Original Receipt date: May 31, 2011
Announcement Type: Initial

Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No.: 93.243

Key Dates

Application Deadline

Applications are due by May 31, 2011.

Public Health System Impact Statement (PHSIS)/Single State Agency Coordination

Applicants must send the PHSIS to appropriate State and local health agencies by application deadline. Comments from Single State Agency are due no later than 60 days after application deadline.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2011 Circles of Care for Mental Health Services for American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities (Short Title: Circles of Care) grants.  The purpose of this program is to provide tribal and urban Indian communities with tools and resources to plan and design a holistic, community-based, coordinated system of care to support mental health and wellness for children, youth and families.  These grants will increase the capacity and effectiveness of mental health systems serving AI/AN communities.  Circles of Care grantees will be equipped to reduce the gap between the need for mental health services and the availability and coordination of mental health services in AI/AN communities for children, youth, and young adults from birth through age 25 and their families. 

The Circles of Care grant program draws on the system of care philosophy and principles that are implemented in the SAMHSA Cooperative Agreements for the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program.  For the purpose of the Circles of Care program, a system of care is defined as a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that are organized to meet the challenges of children and youth with mental health needs and their families. In a system of care model, families and youth work in partnership with public and private organizations to design mental health services and supports that are effective, that build on the strengths of individuals and that address each person's cultural and linguistic needs. A system of care helps children, youth and families function better at home, in school, in the community and throughout life.  Community leaders and members work in partnership with child serving agency directors and staff members to formulate methods to reduce stigma, improve relationships between provider groups, address service capacity issues and increase cultural competence in the overall system. 

The Institute of Medicine Report, Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People, (IOM Report, 2009) underscored the long-standing consensus that health promotion and prevention programs should be culturally sensitive.  Additionally, the Report documented the importance of considering developmental processes, reinforcements of risk behavior, relevant contextual factors and a population’s unique risk profile when designing prevention programs. The IOM Report concludes that many factors may help prevent, delay and/or reduce the severity of mental health related conditions. Trauma, poverty, violence and substance abuse can have a negative impact on the healthy development of children and their families.  The Circles of Care Grant program design will be informed by the IOM Report framework for prevention and health promotion . This conceptual framework to address risk and protective factors for mental, emotional and behavioral (MEB) disorders includes four key features as the basis for prevention and promotion:

  1. Age-related patterns of competence and disorder;
  2. Multiple contexts, including culture and language;
  3. Developmental tasks; and
  4. Interactions among biological, psychological and social factors.

These features allow child and adolescent development to be understood through the nested contexts of family, school, neighborhood and the larger culture.  This strategy incorporates an individual’s community and cultural/linguistic context and will support the development of community-driven models of systems of care.
This program will address the impact of historical trauma on the well-being of AI/AN communities and will be integrated into the core principles of the program.  This focus will also be reflected in the corresponding technical assistance services to be offered by SAMHSA to support this grant program.  The multiple traumas encountered by AI/AN people have contributed to the uprooting of traditional tribal cultural practices and a dismantling of the AI/AN family structure.  In combination, these “historically traumatic events” resulted in a significant loss of culture, language, and traditional ways of life.  

Note:  For the purposes of the Circles of Care program, historical trauma will be defined as the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma experiences. This framing of historical trauma is consistent with the Native Aspirations program (Brave Heart, 2003, p. 7).

The Circles of Care grants are authorized under 520A of the Public Health Service Act, as amended.  This announcement addresses Healthy People 2020 Mental Health and Mental Disorders Topic Area HP 2020-MHMD and Substance Abuse Topic Area HP 2020-SA.

SAMHSA has demonstrated that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover from mental and substance use disorders. Behavioral health services improve health status and reduce health care and other costs to society. Continued improvement in the delivery and financing of prevention, treatment and recovery support services provides a cost effective opportunity to advance and protect the Nation’s health. To continue to improve the delivery and financing of prevention, treatment and recovery support services, SAMHSA has identified eight Strategic Initiatives to focus the Agency’s work on people and emerging opportunities. More information is available at the SAMHSA website:  Applications responsive to this Request for Application must support or expand capacity to address the following Strategic Initiatives:

Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness: Creating communities where individuals, families, schools, faith-based organizations, and workplaces take action to promote emotional health and reduce the likelihood of mental illness, substance abuse including tobacco, and suicide. This Initiative will include a focus on the Nation’s high-risk youth, youth in Tribal communities, and military families.

Trauma and Justice: Reducing the pervasive, harmful, and costly health impact of violence and trauma by integrating trauma-informed approaches throughout health, behavioral health, and related systems and addressing the behavioral health needs of people involved in or at risk of involvement in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Tribal Law and Order Act:  Activities of this grant will work to support elements of the Tribal Action Plan required under the Tribal Law and Order Act, Public Law 111-211, as amended, July 29, 2010 as it related to planning for the mental health needs of children and their families.


Eligible applicants are State and federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Tribes, tribal organizations (including Urban Indian organizations) and Tribal colleges and universities.  Tribal organization means the recognized body of any AI/AN Tribe; any legally established organization of American Indians/Alaska Natives which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization and which includes the maximum participation of American Indians/Alaska Natives in all phases of its activities.  Consortia of tribal organizations are eligible to apply, but each participating entity must indicate its approval.  Prior Circles of Care grantees are ineligible to apply (See Appendix I of this RFA).

This program is being limited to State and Federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations in an effort to address mental health disparities within the AI/AN communities.

The statutory authority for this program prohibits grants to for-profit agencies.

Award Information

Funding Mechanism: Grant
Anticipated Total Available Funding: $2,178,000
Anticipated Award Amount: Up to $311,140 per year
Estimated Number of Awards: 7
Length of Project Period: Up to 3 years

Proposed budgets cannot exceed $311,140 in total costs (direct and indirect) in any year of the proposed project.  Annual continuation awards will depend on the availability of funds, grantee progress in meeting project goals and objectives, timely submission of required data and reports, and compliance with all terms and conditions of award.

Available funding for this program is subject to the enactment of a final budget for FY 2011 or an annualized Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY 2011.  Funding estimates for this announcement are based on potential funding scenarios that reflect an annualized CR at the FY 2010 funding level but do not reflect final conference action on the 2011 budget.  Applicants should be aware that SAMHSA cannot guarantee that sufficient funds will be appropriated to fully fund this program.

These awards will be made as grants.

Contact Information

For questions regarding program issues, contact the designated GPO for your State at the address below:
R. Andrew Hunt, MSW, LICSW
Child Adolescent and Family Branch
Division of Service and Systems Improvement, Center for Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
1 Choke Cherry Road, Room 6-1054
Rockville, Maryland 20857
(240) 276-1926

For questions on grants management issues, contact:

Gwendolyn Simpson
Office of Financial Resources, Division of Grants Management
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
1 Choke Cherry Road
Room 7-1085
Rockville, Maryland 20857
(240) 276-1408     

Documents Needed to Complete a Grant Application



2. GRANT Application Package


Additional Materials

For further information on the forms and the application process, see Useful Information for Applicants

Additional materials available on this website include:

Last updated: 1/21/2011