The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2017 Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Improve the Mental Health and Wellness of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities (Short Title: Circles of Care VII) 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 approach to support mental health and wellness for children, youth, and families. These grants are intended to increase the capacity and effectiveness of mental health systems serving AI/AN communities. Circles of Care grantees will focus on the need to reduce the gap between the need for mental health services and the availability and coordination of mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders 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.
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 the system of care approach, 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 constituency groups work in partnership with child serving agency directors and staff members to formulate methods to improve relationships between provider groups, address service capacity issues, and increase cultural competence in the overall system. The Circles of Care program is also intended to address the impact of historical trauma on the well-being of AI/AN communities through community and culturally-based activities. 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.