StarkMHAR awarded 4-year federal System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Grant valued at $4M

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09-12-16_kids-circleLocal partners include Stark County Family Court, Stark DD, Stark DJFS & Stark County Educational Service Center

Stark County, OH (September 12, 2016) Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR) is pleased to announce the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recently awarded StarkMHAR a four-year System of Care (SOC) Expansion and Sustainability Cooperative Agreement valued at a total of $4 million. Grant operations will begin Oct. 1, 2016.

The purpose of the grant is to improve behavioral health outcomes for children and youth from birth to age 21 with serious emotional disturbances (SED) and their families.  This program will support the wide scale operation, expansion, and integration of the SOC approach by creating sustainable infrastructure and services.

One of 32 nationwide awardees granted this year to states, major metro areas, tribal councils and individual counties, StarkMHAR is among nine individual counties to receive this award.

The Stark County System of Care Expansion grant is a continuation of the SAMHSA-funded planning process initiated by StarkMHAR in 2014. The Stark County SOC Expansion grant will build on cross-system partnerships, including the full participation of families and youth, and create a broad integrated process across all of the community’s child- and youth-serving systems to achieve positive health outcomes for children, youth and families. Local partners involved are Stark County Family Court, Stark County Board of Developmentally Disabled, Stark County Department of Jobs & Family Services, and Stark County Educational Service Center.

The target population for the System of Care (SOC) Expansion grant are youth ages 11-21, and families, with significant functional challenges in their home, school, community experiencing one or more of the following:

  • Multi-system involvement
  • Minority youth living in high poverty/high crime neighborhoods
  • At-risk for court placement or removal from their home
  • Experiencing hospitalization or residential treatment
  • Co-occurring substance abuse, developmental disabilities or other difficult to diagnose and treat conditions.

The Stark SOC team is committed to promoting a collaborative system that protects and enhances the well-being of children and families by building community capacity, coordinating systems and services, and engaging and empowering families.  To guide and steer this work, the SOC team has adopted the following System of Care values. Systems of Care are:

  • Family driven and youth guided, with the strengths and needs of the child and family determining the types and mix of services and supports provided.
  • Community based, with the locus of services as well as system management resting within a supportive adaptive infrastructure of structures, processes, and relationships at the community level.
  • Culturally and linguistically competence, with agencies, programs, and services that reflect the cultural, racial, ethnic, and linguistic differences of the populations they serve to facilitate access to and utilization of appropriate services and supports and to eliminate disparities in care.

Last year’s planning phase allowed StarkMHAR and representatives from community partners to assess the child-serving continuum of care to ensure relevance, improvement and alignment to SOC values and guiding principles.  The resulting strategic plan includes culturally and regionally relevant and sustainable strategies organized around the following core areas:  Treatment, Cultural and Linguistic Competence, Trauma Informed Care, Youth and Young Adult, Social Marketing, and Prevention and Resiliency.

SAMHSA guidelines for the SOC Expansion and Sustainability Cooperative Agreements will build upon progress made in developing comprehensive SOC across the country by focusing on sustainable financing, cross-agency collaboration, the creation of policy and infrastructure, and the development and implementation of evidence-based and evidence-informed services and supports.  Other activities supported will include the implementation of systemic changes, training, and workforce development.

The SAMHSA goal is to continue these efforts to ensure that this approach becomes the primary way in which mental health services for children and youth with SED are delivered throughout the nation.

For questions about the grant, please contact StarkMHAR Executive Director, John R. Aller at 330-455-6644 or