Juneau Announces $1.8M Grant to Support Children’s Health

Thursday, July 18, 2013
By Allyson Hagen

Juneau Announces $1.8M Grant Award to Support Children’s Health in Targeted Communities
Tribal Wraparound Initiative to Serve Fort Peck, Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations

Helena, MT – Today, Superintendent Denise Juneau announced the Office of Public Instruction will receive more than $1.8 million over the next four years to support the well-being of children in public schools on Montana’s Indian Reservations. The Systems of Care Expansion Implementation grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will allow the OPI to continue its work on the Fort Peck, Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations to provide “wraparound” services to families.

The wraparound process is a way to improve the lives of children with complex needs and their families through individualized plans of care. The key characteristics of the process are that the plan is developed by a family-centered team, is individualized based on the strengths and culture of the youth and their family, and is needs-driven rather than services-driven.

Superintendent Juneau stated, “The need for grassroots, community-based solutions to address the mental health needs of children in these communities is clear.” She continued, “The wraparound process is a strengths-based approach to addressing the health and safety of children in our communities. It brings a community’s cultural, familial, and programmatic resources together to support the well-being of children.”

The rate of suicides in Montana is almost double the national average and is consistently among the highest in the country. For American Indian youth in Montana, the needs are even greater. In 2010, ten out of the 16 youth suicides were American Indian youth. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrates that over the past decade, the suicide rate of American Indian youth was double that of all students. According to the National Native Children’s Trauma Center, approximately one in four children will experience a significant traumatic event by the age of 16. Research suggests that Native American youth are at a greater risk of trauma, depression, and PTSD as a result of grief and exposure to violence.

Juneau explained, “We know a child has to feel safe and secure before they can sit in a classroom and learn. This grant will help bring schools and communities together to support their young people. By making sure a child’s mental, physical and emotional needs are addressed, this effort can change life outcomes for students and families.”

In 2011, the OPI was awarded a $615,000, two-year grant from the Montana Mental Health Settlement Trust. The OPI used these funds to initiate wraparound services in its Schools of Promise communities of Frazer, Lame Deer, Wyola and Pryor, collaborating with DPHHS, Indian Health Services, the National Native Children’s Trauma Center, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tribal Health programs. This funding allowed the OPI to train and credential four wraparound facilitators and a wraparound coach. The recommended caseload for each facilitator is eight to 10 families served for one year.

The goals of the OPI Tribal Wraparound Initiative are to: 1) expand the delivery of wraparound from three Indian Reservations (Fort Peck Reservation, Crow Reservation and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation) to up to two additional Reservations; 2) establish partnerships with key local and state agencies to develop a coordinated, community-level approach to school-based wraparound services with local providers, programs and supports; and 3) develop a statewide network of youth and family-serving stakeholders with a common interest of improving mental health delivery to tribal youth.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

A “system of care” is an organizational philosophy and framework that is designed to create a network of effective community-based services and supports to improve the lives of children and youth with or at risk of serious mental health conditions and their families. Systems of care build meaningful partnerships with families and youth, address cultural and linguistic needs, and use evidence-based practices to help children, youth and families function better at home, in school, in the community and throughout life.

The Schools of Promise initiative is a partnership between schools, communities and the Office of Public Instruction to significantly improve the educational experience and outcomes at Montana’s most struggling schools.


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