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Top A Comprehensive Approach to Youth Violence Prevention
Since 1999, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Justice have collaborated on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative, a comprehensive model that has proven to be successful in creating safe and secure schools in individual communities across the country. SS/HS supports school and community partnerships by encouraging integrated systems that promote students’ mental health, enhance their academic achievement, prevent violence and substance use, and create safe and respectful school climates. To date, SS/HS has provided services to 13+ million youth and has offered more than $2 billion in funding and other resources to 365 communities in 49 states across the nation.

The national cross-site evaluation of SS/HS presents compelling evidence of the Initiative’s success, and confirms SAMHSA’s expectations that communities can make effective use of funds through high-functioning partnerships that bring together key agencies who serve children and youth. In FY 2013, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) plans to bring SS/HS to the state level via SS/HS State and Pilot Community cooperative agreements—a new model of partnerships among educational, behavioral health, and criminal and juvenile justice systems.

The SS/HS mission continues to be supporting school and community partnerships in their efforts to develop and coordinate integrated systems that create safe, drug-free, and respectful environments for learning and to promote the behavioral health of children and youth. The SS/HS State and Pilot Community partnership model is designed to facilitate a closer relationship between state policy and local implementation of policies and programs to address youth violence and promote the wellness of children, youth, and families. SAMHSA expects that new grants built from the partnership model will facilitate wide-scale adoption and operation of the SS/HS Initiative and build state- and community-level partnerships among educational, behavioral health, and criminal and juvenile justice systems that promote systems integration, policy change, and sustainable policies, infrastructure, and supports.

How It Works
SS/HS State and Pilot Community grant funding will be awarded to the State Education Authority, the State Mental Health Authority, or federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes and Tribal organizations. Each state or Tribe will be required to create a State Management Team that will include representatives from state education, behavioral health (mental health and substance use), and criminal or juvenile justice agencies.

Each state or Tribe will select three local pilot communities to partner with and will develop and implement a comprehensive plan of activities, services, and strategies to decrease youth violence and promote the healthy development of children and youth in these communities. The SS/HS comprehensive plan will address the following five elements:
  • Element 1: Promoting early childhood social and emotional learning and development.
  • Element 2: Promoting mental, emotional, and behavioral health.
  • Element 3: Connecting youth, families, schools, and communities.
  • Element 4: Preventing and reducing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
  • Element 5: Preventing youth violence and bullying.

The three local pilot communities will also be required to form Core Management Teams that will include representatives from their local education, law enforcement, behavioral health, and juvenile justice agencies. Seeking additional partners, such as child welfare, early childhood, faith-based community organizations, foundations, community coalitions, and family and youth representatives, is encouraged.

Need More Information?
For further assistance, please contact Michelle Bechard at SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 240/276-1872 or michelle.bechard@samhsa.hhs.gov.



  
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Last Updated on 5/1/2013