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Four million dollar grant focuses on 16- to 24-year-olds; homeless and LGBTQ youth
LARGO, MD – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded the Prince George’s County Health Department a four-year, $4 million dollar grant to expand the availability and scope of behavioral health and social services for county residents who are considered transitional-aged youth (16 to 24-years-old), with an emphasis on homeless and LGBTQ youth.“I am proud that our health and human services agencies will be able to do more to engage with our teens and young adults and respond to their unique needs,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “Young people facing society’s uphill battles need our support to give them the best opportunity to be the healthiest they can be.”In partnership with the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services (DSS), the health department will build on the county’s recently expanded network of community-based behavioral health providers to include mobile response and stabilization services with an Intensive Family Intervention Team that may continue to provide clients in-home services for at least six weeks. Support services will be available in public schools with the placement of a DSS community resource advocate and a behavioral health provider in 64 county schools. An additional focus of the system of care will be creating the infrastructure – interagency agreements, human and other resources – to support quality data collection on the numbers and unique needs of transitional-aged youth in the county. “Experiencing homelessness is in itself a traumatic event that can worsen existing mental health issues and lead to added stress from food and health inequities,” said Prince George’s County Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Health, Human Services and Education Dr. George Askew. “Homeless LGBTQ youth have often been rejected by their families and other social support networks because of their sexuality and may be at higher risk for substance misuse or suicide. This grant gives us the chance to enact policies and create appropriate programs tailored to help a variety of youth facing significant social, economic, and health challenges transition through different levels of care during a critical intersection in their lives.”The grant allows the county to continue efforts to increase the number of behavioral health providers practicing in Prince George’s County who provide child and adolescent services, while also enhancing the capacity of health, education, and social services providers to address the needs of transitional-aged youth in a comprehensive and culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.###