Federal Grant to Fund Behavioral Health Services for At-risk Youth

A federal grant of up $12 million will allow Kentucky to provide comprehensive behavioral health and social services for almost 1,500 children and youth in the state’s child welfare system.

The four-year grant of up to $3 million a year is intended to improve long-term outcomes for youth through age 21. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration provided the money to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, whose behavioral health arm will coordinate the program with community partners and related agencies.

“This grant gives our staff and partners better opportunities to address the complex needs of youth who are involved in the child welfare system,” said Adam M. Meier, secretary of the health services cabinet. “By facilitating improved access to evidence-based and culturally-competent services, the framework of this grant allows us to focus on each individual child and achieving good behavioral health outcomes through the best possible treatment.”

The grant start date was Sept. 30, 2019, and matching state funding or cost-sharing is required.

The grant will complement Kentucky’s efforts to transform child welfare services and implement the federal Family First Prevention Services Act, which funds mental health and substance use treatment for families with children who are at risk of entering the child welfare system.

The grant money will be spent in areas with a high need for and low access to mental health services. Officials said services are expected to support 1,485 youth over the four-year grant period.

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