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TDMHSAS Awards Juvenile Justice Reform Local Diversion Grants

Funding to community providers to increase options for at-risk youth
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 | 02:43pm

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services awarded more than $4 million in Juvenile Justice Reform Local Diversion Grants to six recipients.  Grantee agencies along with partners at the state and local levels work will toward the overarching goal providing evidence-based treatment options that reduce out of home placements and help to better serve youth in their community.

Partners in this effort include the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, and court officers from across the state.  Additionally, grantees secured letters of support from their local juvenile court judges.

“This program is all about creating new options for decision-makers in the juvenile justice system and making a difference for children across our state.  I’m grateful to Governor Haslam and the General Assembly for setting this as a priority, and I’m thankful for our community behavioral health partners in this important work,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams. 

Grant awards were targeted to areas of the state with limited in-home, community-based alternatives to out-of-home placements.  Grant recipients include:

  • Frontier Health
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center
  • Volunteer Behavioral Health
  • Tennessee Voices for Children
  • Youth Villages
  • Carey Counseling

Grant recipients will employ services and training that are evidence-based and outcome-oriented.  Work done by grantees will capitalize on the Building Strong Brains initiative which factors in the effects of childhood trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

“We know what works, and we know that if you intervene early to counteract the effect of ACEs, you get a better outcome than if you treat the issue later in life,” said Commissioner Williams.  “So for every child this funding reaches, we’re stopping the cycle of trauma that spans generations.”

Recurring funding for this program was appropriated in the FY18-19 budget which was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Haslam.