MDHHS unveils new grant program as Michigan CACs still uncertain about future

Just under a month ago, the Michigan Children’s Advocacy Center was notified that its funding would be cut in half. Now, three weeks later, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled a new grant program.

The caveat: CCCs cannot request this.

Community mental health services across the state can now apply for a new grant program designed to help children struggling with mental health issues.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services unveiled the MI Kids Now Mobile Response grant program on Friday. Lindsay McLaughlin, director of the Office of Coordinated Health Policy and Supports for Children at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the behavioral needs of children have increased over the past two years.

“We truly believe that children, youth and their families with behavioral health needs will directly benefit from this program. By increasing their access to services that will truly take care of their healthStudents enjoy ice cream while wearing orange needs,” says Laughlin.

It awards community mental health programs across the state that apply and meet the requirements a grant of $200,000 each.

Ginger Kadlec, CEO of the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Centre, says her goal is to help children, but she adds that it’s increasingly clear that “our needs outweigh our resources at this point.

“There are so many services that are needed. So, actually, I was thrilled to see that grant was released. And while this does not apply to CCEs, we hope our heads of state will find ways to ensure that adequate funding is provided to child advocacy centers,” Kadlec says.

Student masksFunding for VOCA or Victim of Crimes Act comes from fines and penalties imposed across the country which then puts it in a big pot. From this pot, the money is sent to the state to be used for victim services. In late August, child advocacy centers across the state were notified that their funding would be cut in half for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The following day, the MDHHS announced that its funding would be restored.

“We were told this would happen for the upcoming fiscal year. Then for FY23-24 and beyond, we don’t really know what’s going to happen with VOCA funding. In fact, it has been implied that we may see it drop again,” says Kadlec.

With CACs across the state uncertain about their future, MDHHS released a statement saying they will monitor upcoming federal budgets and advocate for the funding needed to serve children.

“We can keep putting band-aids on things and see if we can keep going, or we can really try to make a difference and move the needle. Make sure children who need help get the help they need. This all depends on adequate funding for CCCs,” says Kadlec.

The Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Centre’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Circle of Friends, has begun and you can Click here make a donation.

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