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Funds Will Promote Collaboration to Address Mental Health, Substance Abuse Issues

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver is urging eligible agencies to take advantage of federal funding available through the U.S. Justice Department to help improve public safety by fostering collaboration among criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health and substance abuse agencies.

“What’s truly worthwhile about this grant program is that it seeks to promote real solutions to our criminal justice problems. Substance abuse and mental illness are often the root causes of many crimes committed in our country. Unless we tackle these problems head on in individuals, they will simply be doomed to repeat the cycle of violence and crime.

“When we let these cycles perpetuate, they destroy families and communities. By fostering collaboration amongst law enforcement and mental health agencies, we can hopefully address the fundamental problems preventing individuals from finding a productive path in life.”

The grants are provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance within the U.S. Department of Justice for the Fiscal Year 2010 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP). Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to increasing public safety through innovative cross-system collaborations that improve responses to people with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system. Eligible applicants include states, units of local government (including law enforcement agencies), American Indian tribes, and tribal organizations.

Applications must demonstrate that the proposed project will be administered jointly by a unit of government with responsibility for criminal or juvenile justice activities and a mental health agency.

The deadline for applications is February 3, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Anyone interested in downloading the solicitation should click here.

Additionally, the Bureau of Justice Assistance will be offering a webinar to provide an overview of the program and walk interested agencies through the application process. Anyone interested in registering for the webinar should click here.

There will be an additional webinar on the same topic on January 10, 2011, from 2:00 to 3:15 p.m. EST.