07.21.15

Delegation & Raimondo Announce $250,000 in Federal Funds to Benefit RI Youth with Substance Abuse Disorders

Washington, D.C. – Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $250,000 to the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) to plan and implement the Rhode Island Youth Treatment Planning project.  The project aims to improve substance abuse and mental health services for Rhode Island’s youth. 

The project will coordinate Rhode Island’s system of care for youth with substance use disorders.  The current system is fragmented, with different state entities failing to coordinate services and resources that could benefit youth in need.  The announcement aligns with Governor Raimondo’s efforts today to expand opportunity for children and families by convening the state’s Children’s Cabinet for the first time since 2007.

“All kids deserve the opportunity to make it in Rhode Island,” said Raimondo. “Young people are our future, and through this new funding and the collaborative work of my newly-reconvened Children’s Cabinet, we will improve services for families, build stronger, healthier communities, and support our state’s comeback. I am grateful to our entire Congressional Delegation for helping secure these important funds.”

“This federal grant will help improve drug treatment and substance abuse prevention programs for more young people by strengthening our statewide treatment and recovery support system.  Substance abuse is a significant and growing problem that knows no geographic or economic boundaries.  These federal funds will allow the state to bring people together to better coordinate a comprehensive, strategic response to this public health challenge.  I will continue working at the federal level to support these critical investments in the health and future of our young people,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who recently introduced the Overdose Prevention Act, which would authorize the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award funding through cooperative agreements to eligible entities – like public health agencies or community-based organizations with expertise in preventing overdose deaths.

“This award is a step forward for young Rhode Islanders dealing with substance abuse and the challenges that often come with it.  It will raise awareness of available services, and help to better marshal state resources and organize care,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who authored a letter to HHS in support of the state’s successful application.  “I was proud to support the state’s bid, and I congratulate the Governor and Director Montanaro on this award.”

“Focusing on mental health services and substance abuse treatment is critical to improve health outcomes in Rhode Island and break the stigma for those who feel isolated and hopeless because of mental illness or addiction,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.  “This is especially important for our young people, who have their whole lives ahead of them.  We have the ability to break the cycle early, and these federal funds will help to place at-risk youth on a better path toward health and personal success.”

“Like many states, Rhode Island today is facing an urgent public health crisis due to the abuse of illicit drugs,” said Congressman David Cicilline.  “This new federal funding will provide critical resources to enhance public health efforts, raise awareness about drug abuse, and help break the cycle of addiction that affects so many Rhode Island families.  I am proud to join our Congressional delegation on announcing this grant, and I applaud the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals on winning this important award.”

The Children’s Cabinet was formed in 1991 to help state agencies – like BHDDH, the Department of Administration, and the Department of Children, Youth and Families – interact more effectively in caring for young people, including those with substance use disorders.  During the 2015 legislative session, the Raimondo administration worked with the General Assembly to amend the Children’s Cabinet statute to better integrate and coordinate state services across departments and agencies.  The grant project team will collaborate with the Children’s Cabinet in its efforts to improve substance abuse care for young Rhode Islanders, raise awareness of services among Rhode Island youth on social media, generate a three-year plan to establish a Family and Youth Coalition, and improve state coordination of care.

The funding comes via HHS’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, which promotes substance abuse treatment and recovery services, and seeks to reduce barriers to access to high-quality care.

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