RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has received a four-year grant totaling $14.8 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to support the mental health of children and families in North Carolina. The funding will be directed towards North Carolina’s System of Care which connects young people and their families with needed services and resources, including mental health care so they can be safe and successful at home, at school and in their community.

The grant comes at a time when children and youth are facing an urgent mental health crisis. During the pandemic, the rate of children in North Carolina discharged from an emergency department with a behavioral health condition increased by 70%. In 2021, about one in five North Carolina adolescents seriously considered taking their own lives.

“These investments further our efforts to provide children with treatment that promote lasting whole person health and whole family healing,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Forging local partnerships across multiple systems that wrap children and families with care and support that is easy to navigate is key.”

The $14.8 million SAMHSA grant enhances the NC System of Care to ensure more children have access to High-Fidelity Wraparound services, which help children and families before, during and after a crisis. The money will be used to bolster the efforts of county departments of social services, the NC Department of Public Safety-Division of Juvenile Justice, local schools and community groups.

“This grant will support High-Fidelity Wraparound, one of our most promising evidence-based programs for children, and it will also build a statewide infrastructure to support communities in their efforts to address service and program gaps,” said Yvonne Copeland, Director of the NCDHHS Division of Child and Family Well-Being. “Our local partners are a vital component of our statewide System of Care, and the SAMSHA grant will allow us to continue to support the vital work they do.”

“HFW and SOC foster partnership and collaboration that empower youth and families in North Carolina,” said Tara Ward, Project Manager of the NC High-Fidelity Wraparound Training Program for NCDHHS. “With properly funded support systems in place, our young people are far more likely to manage and achieve their self-identified goals.”

NC SOC grant-funded activities will focus on increasing the utilization of existing services and identifying gaps to reduce the need for emergency department visits and residential treatment by building on the existing program and expanding it into new counties. As the grantee, DCFW will contract with partner organizations as well as build internal capacity to support program implementation.

“Supporting the individual programs that make up the System of Care provides a stronger, more cohesive support structure for North Carolina’s families and young people,” said Dr. Kristin Jerger, NC System of Care Project Director at NCDHHS. “One of the most important of which is putting the family and young person in the driver’s seat of their own care.” [source]

More information on the NC System of Care can be found on the NCDHHS website.