The purpose of the Comprehensive Community Supports for Children and their Families Program, also known as the Community Mental Health Initiative or CMHI, is to provide Federal support through grants and cooperative agreements to States, political subdivisions within States, the District of Columbia, and territories to develop integrated home and community-based systems and supports for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families. In the last 20 years, CMHI community grants have funded children’s mental health services in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and many American Indian/Alaska Native territories and authorities. Since the inception of CMHI, more than 100,000 children and youth and their families have been served. These sites work to build collaborative efforts to support families involved in a variety of child-serving organizations and agencies including mental health, child welfare, education, juvenile justice, and others. Activities are driven by adherence to System of Care values and principles, including individualized service delivery models and systems that are family driven, youth guided, community-based, strengths-based, and culturally and linguistically competent.
SAMHSA has awarded a Task Order agreement to Westat to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the CMHI. This evaluation will occur at multiple levels and foci, including the systems, service delivery, and child/family functioning levels, and quality of implementation. Michael D. Pullmann, Ph.D., at the UW PBHJP, has partnered with Westat to conduct the evaluation, who is leading a collaborative team with Principal Investigator Ana Maria Brannan, Ph.D., at Indiana University, and other key partners at George Mason University, the University of Maryland, the Federation of Families, Youth MOVE National, DMA Health Strategies, and Walter R. McDonald and Associates. Dr. Pullmann will serve as the Lead Quantitative Analyst and the Principal Investigator of the UW contract with Westat.
The CMHI represents the largest children’s mental health project ever conducted, with services and supports that have, to date, impacted well over 100,000 youth and their families. Improvements in inter-system communication and collaboration, the inclusion of families in system design and service delivery, and the development of shared funding strategies have transformed several state and local systems.