The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is distributing $62.4 million in grant funding to provide and increase access to effective treatment and services systems in communities throughout the nation for children, adolescents, and their families who experience traumatic events. The White House is bolstering these awards with $800,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) support.
In 2000, Congress established the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI) as part of the Children’s Health Act. Through this initiative, a collaborative network of experts was created to further the development and dissemination of evidence-based clinical interventions for systems that serve children, adolescents, and families.
SAMHSA’s NCTSI raises awareness about the impact of trauma on children and adolescents as a behavioral health concern. NCTSI’s goal is to transform mental health care for children and adolescents affected by trauma throughout the country by improving the quality of community-based trauma treatment and services and increasing access to effective trauma-focused interventions.
“Providing appropriate trauma-informed treatment and service responses for our nation’s children, adolescents and their families continues to be a SAMHSA priority, and is needed more now than ever as we begin emerging from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., who leads SAMHSA. “We are grateful to have the Biden-Harris administration’s support to expand the reach of this critical funding.”
The NCTSI comprises three types of centers. The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress develops and maintains a collaborative network structure, supports resource development and dissemination, and coordinates national child trauma education and training efforts. The Treatment and Service Adaptation (TSA) Centers provide national expertise for specific types of traumatic events, population groups and service systems. The Community Treatment and Service Centers collaborate with the TSA Centers to develop, advance or adapt interventions to improve engagement and outcomes for traumatized youth. Recipients of this third category of grant awards provide:
- Outreach and other engagement strategies to increase participation in, and access to, trauma treatment and services; and prevention services for children and adolescents, and their families, who have experienced traumatic events, including natural and technological human-caused disasters.
- Direct, evidence-based, mental disorder treatment and services, including screening, assessment, care management, therapy and prevention for diverse and at-risk children and adolescents. Treatment must be provided in outpatient, day treatment (including outreach-based services) or intensive outpatient, homebased, or residential programs.
- Services to populations of child-serving service systems, such as child welfare, child protective services, law enforcement and courts, and the juvenile justice system, on trauma-informed practices using grantee expertise or network resources at the local, regional or state levels.
The Biden-Harris administration has provided successive infusions of money into SAMHSA’s mental health funding efforts this year for young people throughout the country. Earlier this month, ARP funds expanded the reach of SAMHSA’s Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention grant program: Eight grants were awarded with ARP funds for a total of $741,252 in Fiscal Year 2021; these grants will be funded annually through ARP during a three-year project period for a total of $2.2 million. This followed the administration adding funds to SAMHSA’s latest awards under the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) Program, which is dispersing $1.5 billion to states and territories, and its earlier infusion of $825 million as a supplement to the previous MHBG allotments.
“Given the recent data quantifying the past year’s toll on the nation’s mental health – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported increases in hospitals’ emergency department admissions of young people who had attempted suicide – the funding of trauma-informed care for this population is both vital and timely,” said Assistant Secretary Delphin-Rittmon.
Since the program began in 2000, NCTSN has provided trauma treatment and services to hundreds of thousands of children and adolescents, with more than 380 grants awarded to more than 225 member centers.