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Application Period Open for Juvenile Justice Reform Local Diversion Grants

Funding to community providers will increase options for at-risk youth
Monday, August 27, 2018 | 08:44am

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services opened the application period for its first Juvenile Justice Reform Local Diversion Grants.  The investment of $4.5 million in recurring funding by Governor Bill Haslam and the General Assembly will go to expand community based-services and training.

The main goal is to provide options for juvenile courts to divert youth from placement in state custody.  Partners in this effort include the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, as well as juvenile court judges and court officers from across the state.

“Working with our partner agencies and judicial representatives to review Tennessee’s juvenile justice system, we heard that decision-makers in the juvenile court system need more options to keep youth out of state custody,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams.  “I’m thankful to the governor and the legislature for entrusting us with this funding, and we are excited to work with our community partners and DCS to make a difference for children across our state.”

In addition to creating community-based alternatives to placement in state custody, the JJR Grant lists additional goals:

  • Establish, expand, and strengthen partnerships to maximize coordination in the diversion of youth from state custody
  • Ensure resiliency, well-being, and overall connectedness to the community for juvenile justice involved youth
  • Measure outcomes including minimization of commitment to state custody and re-arrest

This initial grant offering is written to support target areas where community-based resources, supports, and alternatives to out of home placement are limited.

“We’re looking for applicants who have a handle on community needs and the connections to engage local support that will make the state’s investment go the farthest,” said Matt Yancey, TDMHSAS Deputy Commissioner for Behavioral Health Programs.  “We know that engaging local support and expertise will make this effort a success.”

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).

Completed proposals are due September 14, 2018, and the announcement of accepted proposals is scheduled for September 21.  Read the full announcement of funding and review other TDMHSAS funding opportunities at this link.