SC Department of Mental Health News Release

October 21, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hutto, Public Affairs Office
               (w)    803-898-8584
               (pgr) 803-929-8668


SCDMH Receives $6.9 Million Federal Grant to Enhance Services for Children and Their Families

Columbia, SC: The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (DMH), in partnership with the Department of Social Services, Department of Education, and Department of Juvenile Justice, has received a six-year, $6.9 million grant from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to address the needs of seriously emotionally disturbed children and their families in three South Carolina counties.

This grant, entitled YouthNet, will be coordinated by the Department of Mental Health’s Catawba Community Mental Health Center, Rock Hill, SC. The three counties served by this center-- Chester, Lancaster, and York -- have the state’s highest rate for placing children with emotional disorders out of their homes for treatment. The goal of this grant is to develop a system of care that will allow children to remain in their homes and receive treatment.

“This is a great opportunity for children in our state who have health needs to be served in a supportive system of care with their families,” said State DMH Director George Gintoli.

The grant will provide mental health and other related services to support youth from birth to twenty-one years. Grant activities will include intensive services for 240 families with children under the age of six, the first such initiative for families with young children in South Carolina. The grant will also place mental health workers in local schools, public welfare offices, a domestic violence shelter, and with the Catawba Indian Nation.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to build a comprehensive system of care for Chester, Lancaster, and York counties and for the Catawba Indian Nation,” said Louise Johnson, principal investigator for this initiative and director of the Office of Children, Adolescents and Their Families for the Department of Mental Health.

“YouthNet proposes to transform the way local service systems currently function. We will strive to totally integrate services for children with serious emotional disturbances.

We plan to offer services close to home in the least restrictive settings, and in a culturally competent, child-centered, and family-driven manner.”

Other grant activities include offering Multisytemic Therapy, a nationally recognized practice with demonstrated effectiveness in reducing youth violence; establishing family support groups; and developing specific services to help young adults transition into independence.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health provides services through a network of 17 community mental health centers, five hospitals, and two nursing care centers.

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