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Governor McKee Announces Over $10.5 Million from Federal Government to Help Children and Families

PROVIDENCE, RI Governor Dan McKee today announced that the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) will receive more than $10.5 million from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for their Behavioral Health System of Care for Children, Youth, and their families. This System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Grant will provide the State with $10,598,585 over four years.

"We all know the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the well-being of many families across the state," said Governor Dan McKee. "These grant funds will help children and youth up to age 21 as we continue to create a supportive system of care for those with serious emotional needs, and their families. I want to thank the Congressional delegation for their support in securing this grant which allows our Administration to continue doing this important work."

"The need for mental health services for young Rhode Islanders is greater than ever. Thanks to this grant, we are ready to meet it," said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. "These funds enable us to help our children and youth in their moment of crisis and provide supportive services to help them recover in the long term. Our Congressional delegation's advocacy at the federal level is empowering our outstanding behavioral healthcare workers to go even further for our families, and we're deeply grateful for their work."

"Rhode Island's existing services for children with serious emotional disturbances is rooted in equity and inclusion, a commitment to quality, and a focus on social determinants of health," said Acting EOHHS Secretary Ana Novais. "This grant will fill gaps in our system adding to our unified Mobile Response and Stabilization Services and allowing us to begin a Community-Based Intensive Care Program. These programs will ensure that children and their families receive timely, urgent and emergent care in the least restrictive settings as well as necessary adequate intensive services. I want to thank our Congressional delegation and the Governor for their support of our grant application."

The Behavioral Health System of Care for Children and Youth focuses on:

- Prevention - A single point of access - A strong crisis response - A coordinated array of supports for Rhode Islanders in the community

"This new federal funding will help EOHHS strengthen and integrate pediatric mental and behavioral health services to better support children experiencing complex mental health challenges. It will ensure kids experiencing severe, chronic mental health issues can access the care and support they need to improve their well-being and lead healthier lives," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, who supported the state's grant request. "This grant is about ensuring the right mental health resources and services are available for children in need and reducing barriers to care."

"The pandemic exacerbated mental health issues across the board, and we've seen heartbreaking effects on children," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "This federal funding will ensure that more high-quality support is available to help kids before and during a crisis."

"The data tells us that the Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly hard for young people, especially those who were struggling prior to the onset of the pandemic," said U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin. "With the infusion of these federal funds, EOHHS can expand their capacity to reach families quickly and offer the full range of community-based resources they may need."

"As we focus on building a more equitable, better future for all Rhode Islanders, we need to make sure that our children and families facing unique and serious behavioral and emotional health challenges are given the support they need and deserve," said Congressman Cicilline. "This $10.5 million grant will bolster programming through Rhode Island's Behavioral Health System of Care for Children and Youth, addressing systemic gaps and allowing the state to better service families and provide early, streamlined interventions."

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