Youth with emotional problems are often served by multiple agencies and coordination of services is critically important. When one agency is unaware of services a youth is receiving elsewhere, duplicating or conflicting approaches might result.

In an effort to improve coordination of services, Broward County previously received a one-year federal grant to develop a plan to address the needs of youth transitioning to the adult system of care. To expand upon the current system of services, Broward County has received a $1 million annual grant for four years, for a total of $4 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“This grant is an incredible opportunity for Broward County to build on the success of a yearlong planning process and work with the Broward Behavioral Health Coalition to have a positive impact on the lives of older adolescents with serious emotional problems,” said Michael F. Elwell, Human Services Department Director.

The funding will allow for the provision of youth and family-driven care to help adolescents with serious mental health problems remain in the community and out of residential placements, the juvenile justice system and other restrictive settings. Grant activities include engaging youth and families as primary stakeholders in the system of care, developing culturally and linguistically competent services and implementing evidence-based practices.

“The result will be a family-focused, recovery-oriented approach for serving transitional youth that will involve not only behavioral health, the school system, child welfare and juvenile justice, but also affordable housing, employment services and social supports that will all work together as a system of care,”  said Elwell.

Grant funds will be used to implement a comprehensive plan to enhance the system of care for adolescents and young adults ages 14-21 with serious emotional problems and other conditions such as substance abuse and trauma. The grant begins on Sept. 30, and will be administered by the Broward County Human Services Department’s Community Partnerships Division in collaboration with the Broward Behavioral Health Coalition.