Category Archives: Grants

SSBG Briefing on Capitol Hill

Earlier today, CWLA and other national organizations held a briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the important work that is funded by the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) and the very real damage that would be caused if it were eliminated as called for in a plan approved by the House of Representatives earlier this year. John Sciamanna from the National Foster Care Coalition opened the briefing with a plea to Congress to support SSBG and to reject efforts to eliminate it.

Other speakers included Delegate Samuel Rosenberg, vice-chair of the Maryland House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee, Bob Suver, Director of Clark County Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Jerry Davis, Vice-President for National Advocacy and Public Policy at Boys Town, and Cecile Noel, Executive Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Human Resources Administration.  The speakers described the critical needs SSBG meets in their communities and how this resource is not available anywhere else. The flexible funding structure of SSBG was also touted as an effective feature of the block grant. It was noted that approximately 12% of SSBG funds support child welfare services. Additionally, child protective services (CPS) receives many hundreds of millions more in funding from SSBG each year than from the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act that sets CPS mandates for protecting children.

On May 10, the House passed H.R. 5652, which would eliminate SSBG and make drastic cuts to Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program among others. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill and the Senate has shown no interest in taking it up.  Still, the bill’s passage is important because as the looming 2013 sequestration deadline approaches, pressure to replace or eliminate these cuts will increase.  This bill demonstrates just how the House seeks to do so and may come into play during post-election negotiations.

SAMHSA Accepting Grants for NCTSI, and Upcoming Webinar

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently announced that they were accepting applications for up to $51.8 million in total funding over four years for National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI) – Category II, Treatment and Services Adaptation Center (TSA) Grants

The purpose of this initiative is to improve treatment and services for children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events and to increase access to these treatments and services throughout the nation. The purpose of the Treatment and Service Adaptation Centers (TSA), Category-II cooperative agreements is to provide national expertise on specific types of traumatic events, population groups and service systems, and support the specialized adaptation of effective treatment and service approaches for communities across the nation.

Domestic public and private nonprofit entities are eligible to apply for grants which will range from $600,000 to $1,000,000 per year for up to four years. The deadline for submitting applications is June 26, 2012.

The initiative is part the broader National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), which is composed of three centers:

  1. The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress – (Category I),
  2. Treatment and Service Adaptation (TSA) Centers – (Category II) –mentioned above, and
  3. Community Treatment and Services (CTS) Centers – (Category III)

The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress – (Category I) works with SAMHSA to develop and maintain the collaborative network structure, oversee resource development and dissemination, and coordinate national trauma education and training efforts. Next week, they will hold the final 90-minute webinar in the Zero to Six Child Welfare Speaker Series on Thursday, June 7th at 12:00pm EDT, where presenters will discuss the many transitions experienced by young traumatized children in the child welfare system and the challenges that they pose for young children.

National Town Hall on Child Welfare

On Monday, the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) at the US Department of Health and Human Services hosted a National Town Hall on Child Welfare, along with colleagues from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Town Hall covered the recent Information Memorandum (IM), which details plans for state child welfare waiver demonstration projects for FY’s 2012-2014. ACYF Commissioner Bryan Samuels highlighted the waiver demonstration goals and priorities. Deputy Commissioner Clare Anderson explained the new psychotropic medication management requirements that have been developed based on the work that the Administration is doing with state and tribal entities to ensure proper medication management for children in the child welfare system. Jean Close, CMS, discussed the role of Medicaid in promoting the well-being of children and youth. Finally, David DeVoursney, highlighted some key SAMHSA initiatives aimed at improving the behavioral health system for children and youth.

Samuels kicked off the town hall by reiterating the goals and priorities for the waiver demonstrations, which include increasing permanency, improving outcomes for children and families, and preventing abuse and neglect and re-entry into care. He also discussed in detail, the importance of a trauma informed system of care as a means to promote well-being. In addition to outlining the new requirements for the oversight and management of psychotropic medication for children in care, Anderson also explored possible partnerships with early childhood and housing, to name a few, as a means to addressing the needs of and improving outcomes for children and families with child welfare involvement.

At the end of the town hall, participants had the opportunity to ask questions about the waivers and the interagency collaboration on behalf of ACYF, CMS, and SAMHSA with respect to addressing the various needs that children and families with child welfare involvement present.

As a reminder, CWLA will be hosting a webinar for its members on the waiver opportunities for private agencies with Commissioner Samuels on May 29th. For more information regarding this webinar including registration details please contact govaffairs@cwla.org.

Funding Announcements on Service Delivery and Family Connections

The Children’s Bureau has just announced two discretionary grant opportunities to improve child welfare service delivery and promote family connections. Authorized by the Adoption Opportunities Program (P.L. 111-320), Initiative to Improve Access to Needs-Driven, Evidence-Based/Evidence-Informed Mental and Behavioral Health Services in Child Welfare funds demonstration projects to build the capacity for an integrated approach to a screening, assessment, service provision and evaluation system that improves the socio-emotional and behavioral well-being of children served by child welfare. Both the Children’s Bureau and CWLA have prioritized making needed progress on tending to child well-being. Family Connection Grants: Combination Family-finding/Family Group Decision-making Projects is one of four FY2012 forecasted grants authorized under the Family Connection Discretionary Grants Program created by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351). As indicated in the title, funds are available for demonstration projects on intensive family-finding (IFF) and family group decision-making (FGDM) to support permanency needs and maintenance of children in safe, permanent living arrangements.

The funding announcement for the capacity building grants includes background on behavioral and mental health challenges; recent federal legislative changes and oversight findings; and a screening, assessment and service framework justifying the intent and incentivized approach promoted by the grant to improve child well-being outcomes by increasing positive functioning. Awards will cover a five year cooperative agreement in two-phases, the first lasting up to nine months for planning and assessment. Collaboration is expected amongst the grantee, the Children’s Bureau, partnering service agencies and organizations, consumers, and field experts. Child welfare agencies are required partners if not the grant lead. Eight grants ranging from $320,000 to $640,000 for a total of $5.12 million are available. Applications are due July 20th, 2012.

The set of Family Connection Grants released will fund integrated IFF and FGDM services that use technology and effective family engagement to identify, establish and re-establish family and fictive kin relationships and plan with families in meetings to determine the best way to nurture and protect their child. Services should support permanency needs, including but not limited to placement. These three year demonstration projects are being funded to test how this combination service reduces time in care and meets immediate and long-term safety, permanency and well-being needs for children in or at risk of entering the child welfare system and to further more consistent and better integration of these family connection-focused techniques. The funding announcement includes a detailed description and evidence-base for each service, including lessons learned from previous discretionary grants on the approaches. Expectations of the service components and accompanying supports are also outlined. Five grants ranging from $400,000 to $500,000 for a total of $2.34 million are available. Applications are also due July 20th, 2012.

UPDATE: Two additional funding opportunities under the Family Connections Grants authorized by the Fostering Connections Act were also released this month. 

Family Connection Grants: Child Welfare/TANF Collaboration in Kinship Navigation Programs will fund demonstration projects revealing the effectiveness of Kinship Navigator programs in connecting youth in or at risk of entering care, their family members, and their kinship caregivers to find and make use of services that promote protective factors and ultimately permanency. Projects should be conducted collaboratively between child welfare and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) agencies, using a systems integration approach promoted in CWLA’s legislative agenda and recently called for in a GAO study. In addition to outlining the administration’s commitment to ensuring well-being for children a families, the funding announcement contains an overview of the proliferation of kinship care giving and its benefits, as well as challenges kinship families face. In addition, there is an overview of TANF child-only support, its benefit, limitations, and room for improvement in supporting kinship families. Seven awards ranging from $550,000 to $750,000 are available for a total of $5 million. Applications are due July 16th, 2012.  

Family Connection Grants: Comprehensive Residential Family Treatment (RFT) Projects are also under the funding authority of the Fostering Connection’s Family Connection Grants. Funding is for showing the effectiveness of RFT projects that are family-centered, address the complex needs of families involved with or potentially served by child welfare, including diverse family forms and extended family members, as appropriate. Services should be provided for at least six months and include substance abuse treatment, early intervention, family counseling, medical and mental health, early education and child care, and other services necessary for comprehensive treatment. The funding announcement describes the target population as families with multiple needs for each member including parents with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse challenges. Results from previous RFT demonstration projects funded under the Family Connection Grants are reviewed along with lessons learned that facilitating communication, fostering a culture of respect, and coordinating services with clients are important facets of successful programs. Further requirements covering program components, licensing and collaboration are outlined. Five awards are available ranging from $500,000 to $600,000 for a total of $3 million. Applications are also due July 16th, 2012.