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November 1, 2002

Governor Announces $9.5 Million Mental Health Grant to Benefit School-Aged Children

CHICAGO--Governor George H. Ryan today announced that the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) has received a $9.5 million grant award from the Federal government. The grant is the result of a collaborative effort between the DHS' Office of Mental Health (DHS/OMH), the Chicago Public School system, the Illinois State Board of Education and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

These agencies launched a year-long pilot project aimed at identifying and assisting students in the Chicago schools who are in need of additional mental health services to succeed in the school setting. This project was launched in conjunction with volunteer participation from community mental health agencies without any new mental health funding.

This proposal was developed as an outgrowth of Futures for Kids' priority to address children's mental health needs within the schools. Several Futures for Kids Advisory Panel members were instrumental in putting this proposal together as a public private partnership in order to maximize the effectiveness of scarce resources. Futures for Kids is the statewide resource created by Governor Ryan for programs and policies related to the health, safety, and education of infants, children and teenagers.

"This pilot project is a prime example of the state’s continued commitment to help people with mental health issues,” said Governor Ryan. “This grant will allow us to continue to provide assistance to Illinois youth who may be experiencing mental and emotional difficulties that impede their success in school."

The $9.5 million grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and will be distributed over a five-year period to DHS/OMH. The funding will be used to advance the school-based mental health pilot project in coordination with the Chicago Public Schools.

“The department is proud to be a major contributor to this project which is expected to help 350- 450 students ages 5-18,” said DHS Secretary Linda Reneé Baker. “We will use this funding to support the co-training, co-location, consultation, linkage, and crisis intervention services of community mental health agents in targeted local schools.”

A citywide council will be formed to oversee the grant. The council will include membership from DHS’ Offices of Mental Health and Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Illinois State Board of Education, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Mayor's Office, the Chicago Department of Health, Juvenile Justice, local universities, parent organizations, parents and guardians.


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