The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, in partnership with Social Current and Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), has launched a new organizational diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI) certification that aims to help youth and family-serving organizations approach their DEI efforts with intention and ensure that equity is deeply embedded in their culture, reflected throughout their policies and practices, and can endure through leadership and administrative changes. The DEI certification leverages Social Current’s organizational assessment tools, DEI trainings and consultation, and standards of practice.  

Set to begin May 20, this 12-month certification will include online trainings, peer learning, individual and group coaching, and guidance on a capstone project. The capstone project will include individuals served in its design and implementation and demonstrate the organization’s implementation of the DEI principles covered in training, coaching sessions, and Social Current’s DEI standards of practice. The certification will culminate with an in-person convening at Georgetown University, where the capstone projects will be presented.

Certification objectives:

Each organization must commit at least two staff to engaging in the certification process that will include coaching and training over a 12-month period. The cost for this certification is $19,000 per organization, which can be paid in two installments. The certification will be valid for two-years after completion of the program.

You can learn more about the DEI certification and schedule online, or join us for an upcoming informational webinar:

To start the registration process, please click here. Applications are due March 29, 2024, and participation will be confirmed by April 19, 2024.

If you have any questions, please contact Undraye Howard, vice president of equity, diversity, inclusion, and engagement at Social Current.

More than 800 nonprofits have joined this sign-on letter in support of the Streamlining Federal Grants Act (S. 2286/H.R. 5934). This legislation addresses critical issues in managing federal grant programs and would help enhance the efficiency and performance of federal grants and cooperative agreements.

The Streamlining Federal Grants Act first gained momentum when introduced by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) on July 17. At the time, leaders from across the social sector shared statements of support for the bill in a press release from the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs.

Now, 827 nonprofits have rallied behind the legislation recognizing the lasting impact it could have on the sector and the communities served. Specifically, the Act focuses on several fundamental principles that will enhance this grant process for all:

Social Current has been active in advocating for federal grant reform and educating our network about the issue. Social Current’s Senior Director of Government Affairs Blair Abelle-Kiser commented on the importance this act would have on the sector:

“I believe the Streamlining Federal Grants Act is a transformative step toward a more efficient and equitable grant administration system. By addressing critical issues and advocating for coordination, transparency, and equitable access, this legislation has the potential to empower nonprofits and uplift underserved communities across the nation.”

Social Current is monitoring the progress of the Streamlining Federal Grant Act of 2023 and will share updates in our Policy and Advocacy Radar newsletter. Subscribe online.

Learn More & Take Action

Social Current has always emphasized that together, we can create a greater impact. By working across systems, community-based organizations can establish a web of services that maximize their strengths and address their needs to better serve their staff and communities.

At Social Current, we provide multiple pathways toward purposeful partnership. From Strategic Industry Partners to Network Champions to Corporations and Philanthropy, we bolster our network’s impact by sharing their business solutions and opportunities.

Our President and CEO Jody Levison-Johnson would like to introduce our Silver Strategic Industry Partners in this video. These five partners offer specialized products and services that benefit the sector:

Meet Social Current’s Silver Strategic Industry Partners

Brown & Brown Insurance: Long-time partner Brown & Brown Insurance is the preferred choice of over 1,300 health and human services organizations nationwide. They are dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of their customers by helping to protect what they value most.

FlexAMS: FlexAMS offers a results-driven and cost-effective Electronic Health Record (EHR) solutions geared toward nonprofit health and human service organizations. They are committed to superior customer service and affordability, making them the top choice for many behavioral health and social services organizations.

Marsh McLennan Agency: Marsh McLennan Agency provides business insurance, employee health and benefits, retirement, and private client insurance solutions across North America. With inclusion and diversity at the heart of their shared enterprise, they work side by side across disciplines, businesses, and borders to solve their clients’ most complex problems.

Public Consulting Group: Public Consulting Group is a leading public sector management consulting firm that partners with health, education, and human services agencies. They offer a multidisciplinary approach to solve their clients’ challenges and favor long-term client relationships.

Triad: Triad is the leading provider of education, community, and career resources for our sector. They support the behavioral and mental health community, from student to practitioner, and offer discounted rates for our network.

Interested in partnering with Social Current? Contact Marisa Collins, director of strategic partnerships and partner communications, or visit our partnerships page online.

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking significant steps to bolster public health by addressing social determinants through a collaborative effort across multiple agencies. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), particularly the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is unveiling vital resources to streamline the coordination of health care, public health, and social services at the federal, state, and local levels.

The effort includes the introduction of the inaugural U.S. Playbook to Address Social Determinants of Health, underscoring the interdependence of health, secure housing, nutritious food, and unpolluted air. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “It is clear that the health of our people does not exist in a vacuum, but it is affected by our access to stable housing, healthy food, and clean air to breathe.”

Additionally, the administration is launching a Call to Action to Address Health Related Social Needs as well as a Medicaid and CHIP Health-Related Social Needs Framework. These resources offer guidance to states in structuring programs that tackle housing and nutritional deficiencies for vulnerable populations. The guidance advocates for collaborative efforts across sectors, engaging private health care, social services, public health, environmental agencies, government, and information technology, to cultivate a more integrated health and social care system.

This all-encompassing strategy aligns investments across diverse federal agencies, including the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Agriculture (USDA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Veterans Affairs (VA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others, to fund local initiatives, empower communities, and enhance health outcomes. Rooted in the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities, this initiative aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The overarching objective is to establish fair, accessible, person-centered health and social care systems, irrespective of social circumstances, reinforcing the administration’s dedication to health equity and comprehensive well-being.

HHS Announces New Funding for Community Behavioral Health

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to address behavioral health challenges at the community level, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have unveiled funding opportunities totaling $74.4 million. These grants are designed to proactively prevent substance use, addressing associated concerns in line with the administration’s efforts to combat the overdose epidemic and tackle the national mental health crisis.

In related remarks, Secretary Xavier Becerra of HHS underscored the promotion of positive outcomes and the advancement of health equity through the support of community-based behavioral health services. SAMHSA, led by Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, is dedicated to enhancing access to behavioral health care services nationwide. The funding empowers organizations to implement evidence-based strategies aimed at preventing and addressing substance misuse while also promoting mental health.

The announced funding opportunities include $30.4 million in grants for the Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (CMHI) program. This initiative targets the enhancement of mental health outcomes for children and youth at risk of serious emotional trauma. Additionally, $13.1 million is earmarked for Tribal Behavioral Health to counteract suicidal behavior, substance use/misuse, overdose, and trauma among American Indian/Alaska Native youth. Two grants, $15.5 million each, are directed at state and community entities to mitigate substance misuse onset and progression by prioritizing prevention and mental health promotion services. This initiative aligns with the administration’s comprehensive mental health strategy and the National Drug Control Strategy, contributing to a holistic, whole-of-government approach to addressing the overdose epidemic and mental health crisis.

HUD Rolls Out Grants for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduced a comprehensive strategy to tackle homelessness, with a specific focus on youth, individuals in unsheltered environments, and those in rural areas. HUD has designated $50 million for Youth Homelessness System Improvement (YHSI) grants, which will benefit around 35 communities. The grants seek to bring about systemic changes that improve response systems for youth at risk or experiencing homelessness. Objectives include enhancing impact through Youth Action Boards, setting up regional committees to address youth homelessness across various systems, gathering and utilizing data on at-risk youth, nurturing community leaders, and refining coordination of homeless assistance projects.

According to HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, “The Biden-Harris Administration is taking a whole-of-government approach toward ending homelessness. We encourage our state and local partners to join us in this critical effort and leverage unprecedented levels of federal resources and flexibilities available to address this crisis.” In addition to the YHSI grants, HUD is implementing a technical assistance strategy for 62 Continuum of Care communities and 139 Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). This strategy aims to improve program coordination, elevate leaders with lived experience, engage individuals in unsheltered and rural settings, and make permanent housing a reality with supportive services.

Family First Prevention Services Clearinghouse Posts New Ratings

The Family First Prevention Clearinghouse has posted new ratings for twelve prevention services. One was found to be “well-supported,” one was rated as “supported”, one as “promising”, and nine were rated as “does not currently meet criteria.” The programs included mental health, substance abuse, kinship navigator, and in-home parent skill-based services. So far, 160 programs and services have been reviewed, and 79 have been rated as promising, supported, or well-supported. The new ratings are:

Subscribe to the Policy and Advocacy Radar to receive our biweekly policy roundup, which includes commentary on issues in Social Current’s federal policy agenda, opportunities to take action, and curated news and opportunities.

Help Shape the Next Edition of COA Accreditation Standards

COA Accreditation, a service of Social Current, is proposing enhancements to its accreditation standards. These draft revisions are now available for review and comment from the field.

Click on the links above to save the Word documents to your computer’s Downloads folder. Review the documents and submit your feedback through the process outlined at the top of each document. The deadline to make comments is Dec. 14.  

These proposed updates reflect an in-depth review and synthesis of prominent published research and professional literature, as well as collaboration with a diverse group of subject matter experts from this field. The field comment period is a critical step in our process because it ensures our standards are field informed by including input from provider organizations in the development process. The final updates will be released in spring 2024.   

This critical pairing of research and practice ensures that the COA Accreditation standards remain rigorous, practical, and reflective of current trends and evolving practices and continue to promote improved outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing recently released a new vision paper for community-based provider organizations and states working to leverage the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model to expand access to high-quality care.

CCBHCs: A Vision for the Future of Community Behavioral Health Care outlines a national vision for excellence in community mental health and substance use care and describes how clinics can leverage their CCBHC status to transform the experience of accessing care.

“We must take steps today to improve the quality of health care that will strengthen communities, help people in need, and improve health outcomes – tomorrow is too late,” National Council for Mental Wellbeing president and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. “The overwhelming need for mental health and substance use care demands that we embrace innovative ways of structuring, as well as delivering and paying for care. The CCBHC model represents the best solution to accomplish that goal.”

The new resource captures innovations and best practices being used by CCBHCs that improve health outcomes, facilitate access to care, and demonstrate the value of the model. For clinics, it provides ideas to help design programs and services, streamline operations to ensure same-day access and develop a workforce capable of meeting increased demand for services, promoting health equity and improving health care outcomes. For states, it includes recommendations to engage with CCBHCs to better inform policy solutions to reduce barriers to care and coordinate statewide efforts like implementing the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Operated and certified in 12 states, CCBHCs have seen widespread bipartisan support in the last decade. Just last year, the CCBHC demonstration program was expanded to add 10 new states every two years, starting in 2024. As the program expands and more states begin drafting their state certification processes many will require accreditation.

Through COA Accreditation, a service of Social Current, we can ensure CCBHCs meet that accreditation requirement and successfully implement and build upon SAMHSA’s 2023 CCBHC Certification Criteria.

Learn more about how COA Accreditation standards support best practices for CCBHCs by visiting our website or joining an upcoming webinar.

Visit the National Council’s website to download the vision paper.

Social Current and the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) are excited to share progress on our effort to create a leadership framework for community-based and public sector human services leaders that will change the way we work together.

There is a need for a new operating paradigm that puts people at the center of the work, unlocking the power of community-led solutions. A change in how sector leaders work is foundational to advancing equitable, community-led outcomes.

Through focus groups, story gathering, a literature review, and the leadership experiences of both Social Current and APHSA, we have collected and synthesized a rich set of insights and impactful practices. From this collective input, we have been able to map the next generation of leadership competencies for human service leaders. By working from the traditional competencies that we seek to shift or amplify, we began to define/describe leadership competencies that are centered in people, community, and help make them actionable through specific examples.

We invite you and your community members with lived experience to participate in a virtual focus group in November or December. The sessions start Nov. 16. You can sign up here.

Initiative Update and Focus Groups for CEOs and Senior Leaders

Please join us to continue the dialogue. The focus groups will be 60 minutes long. During the session, facilitators will share an overview of the work and how the leadership competencies emerged. For the remainder of the session, participants will discuss how the competencies resonate with them; share their experiences, strategies, and innovations working in the human services sector; and identify how opportunities for improving services can be incorporated in the leadership behaviors or action.

View full details for CEOs and senior leaders and register here. Use this flier to share this opportunity with your team.

Focus Groups Community Members with Lived Experience

Please invite individuals in your communities to participate in these focus groups. We look to hear their perspectives around what makes them feel valued and heard, how to co-create practices and policies, how to improve service access, and how to address racial disparities. We will provide a stipend to individuals participating in these focus groups.

View full details for community members and register here. Use this flier to share this opportunity with your community.

Space is limited, so please register in advance. Only those who have registered in advance and received confirmation can attend.

If you have questions or need further details, contact Trinka Landry-Bourne of APHSA or Robena Spangler of Social Current.

By: Susana Mariscal and Bryan Victor 

One of the most challenging and complex responsibilities of the child welfare system is understanding and investigating the death of a child. As difficult as they are, these investigations are an essential part of a public health process that helps explain why child deaths occur and the strategies that can prevent future deaths.  

Child Fatality Review (CFR) teams are assigned the hard task of reviewing all deaths of children under the age of 18 that are sudden, unexpected, or unexplained, including children known to child protective services, and deaths that are determined to be the result of homicide, suicide, accident, or are undetermined. While many local CFR teams are comprised of individuals who are committed to protecting children and families in their local communities, for some states, including Indiana, CFR teams are volunteer positions and members are not compensated for their participation.  

When the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) was selected in 2019 by the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime as one of five sites in the nation to participate in a demonstration initiative to apply a public health approach to reducing child abuse and neglect fatalities and injuries, a focal area was the CFR process. The initiative, known as Child Safety Forward, gave us the opportunity to apply support from a national technical assistance team to our long-term aim of ensuring that processes, such as fatality review, are used consistently and effectively to generate data-informed recommendations to support prevention.  

For the first phase of Child Safety Forward Indiana, CFR teams undertook a five-year retrospective review of data corresponding to child deaths in four counties that experienced the highest number of child fatalities in the state, along comparison counties. We also conducted interviews with parents and child-serving professionals involved with CFR, such as child welfare, public health, education, mental health, criminal justice, and others to learn about barriers and facilitators related to identification and prevention. The findings were significant, both in what they revealed about causes of child death, and in what they revealed about gaps in the system. 

One of the findings identified inconsistencies around the implementation and operation of CFR teams around the state. For instance, instead of focusing on determining factors that could help identify prevention strategies, local review teams were often oriented toward assigning responsibility for death in individual cases—which reinforced the notion that CFR is a punitive process. To improve policy, IDOH developed data-driven recommendations that informed two state legislative changes. The first proposed policy change was to eliminate restrictions on who could initiate a CFR team, opening the door to a broader set of practitioners and community members to take the lead. The second proposed policy change was to mandate certain types of evidence and data to be collected during a death scene investigation in Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) cases–often related to unsafe sleep conditions. 

Since the passage of these bills, the Child Safety Forward Indiana team has continued to implement several other changes that strengthened the CFR infrastructure across the state. The biggest change is the increase in the number of CFR teams, which for the first time in the history of the program, now cover all 92 counties in the state. The Department of Child Services (DCS) has taken on the responsibility of initiating teams in many of these areas. With this rapid expansion, training and resources for teams were needed, and Child Safety Forward Indiana has created a hub and toolkit for this purpose, along with coordinators to provide support at the regional level. 

Over the course of the initiative, the improvement in the quality of the CFR process was one aspect of a multi-dimensional effort, including multidisciplinary team training.  The team also worked to improve cross-system collaboration in partnership with Strengthening Indiana Families (SIF), a primary child maltreatment project that is implementing Family Resource Centers in central Indiana to provide support and build on families’ protective factors through community collaboration. SIF also convened a Parent Advisory Group to emphasize the voices and representation of parents in shaping prevention programs, advancing racial equity and inclusion, and improving children and family outcomes.  

Community Action Teams, consisting of a group of stakeholders, were established to implement CFR team recommendations. IDOH also developed and launched a data-informed statewide infant safe sleep campaign, including videos which have garnered over 1.5 million views. 

While no direct causal inferences can be made, all of these and other prevention efforts have had a meaningful collective impact in the four target counties, which has seen decreases in SUID rates and in the rates of child fatalities due to external injury.  

These efforts demonstrate that, while difficult, the work of those who conduct child fatality reviews are a vital and necessary tool in a public health approach that is geared toward providing the resources and knowledge that can prevent future tragedies, so that all children fulfill their promise. 


Susana Mariscal is an associate professor at the Indiana University School of Social Work. She is the lead evaluator of Child Safety Forward Indiana and project director of Strengthening Indiana Families, a strengths-based primary child maltreatment prevention program funded by the U.S. Children’s Bureau. Mariscal is a community-engaged scholar focused on violence prevention and resilience promotion among children and families. 

Bryan Victor is an assistant professor at Wayne State University School of Social Work. His research examines community-based approaches to violence prevention with a particular focus on child maltreatment. Victor is a co-investigator on the Child Safety Forward Indiana evaluation team and co-leads the Strengthening Indiana Families project with Dr. Susana Mariscal. 

Disclaimer: This product was supported by cooperative agreement number 2019-V3-GX-K005, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.  

By: Sheila Boxley  

When the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities released its groundbreaking report in 2018, one of the key concepts that informed its recommendations was the need for multi-disciplinary support for families. In other words, keeping children safe is a job that child welfare systems and child protective services (CPS) cannot do alone. 

On the heels of the release of the Commission’s report, the U.S. Department of Justice funded a demonstration initiative to develop and test multidisciplinary strategies and responses to address fatalities or near-death injuries as a result of child abuse and neglect. Known as Child Safety Forward, the initiative has spent the subsequent four years developing strategies to support a public health approach to reducing abuse and neglect fatalities. 

The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento (CAPC) was one of five demonstration sites in the nation chosen for this grant. Systems partners across Sacramento County began the work with an understanding that child safety and well-being was not solely a “child welfare responsibility,” and recognized the need for all child- and family-serving agencies and organizations to partner together. While collaboration across systems in Sacramento County was already strong, the initiative furthered a sense of shared responsibility and accountability for child safety to fully implement a public health approach to prevent child maltreatment through systems change.  

Through the development of a Prevention Cabinet comprised of local system and community leaders, the Sacramento Child Safety Forward team leaned into  the collective impact approach, which is often utilized to support and engage multi-disciplinary players to work together to solve complex problems. 

What is collective impact? Practitioners define it as “a network of community members, organizations, and institutions that advance equity by learning together, aligning, and integrating their actions to achieve population and systems-level change.” It involves a structured process that integrates the following: a common agenda; shared measurement; mutually reinforcing activities; continuous communication; and a backbone team.  

Engaging community and centering equity are essential elements to the success of collective impact. The Sacramento team approached the work by elevating families into relationships of equal power in the development of a strategic plan with the goal of aligning with community needs.  

They achieved this by appointing Community Representatives to infuse the initiative with the stories, voices, and life experiences of those who have had contact with any child- and family- serving system or agency in Sacramento County. Seven community listening sessions, developed in partnership with the Community Representatives, provided additional community feedback. 

Shifting the way people think and understand the connection between prevention and child safety takes time. It requires moving decision makers and practitioners from focusing on how to work within the constraints of their current system to envisioning a new way for the system to operate. There were core elements of the Child Safety Forward design that helped accelerate some of the necessary transformations. These included: 

Child Safety Forward enabled Sacramento County to create a robust governing structure through its Prevention Cabinet for this work. This entity now consists of more than 30 cross-systems leaders from public systems, private nonprofits, and the community who have come together to co-create a strategic plan focused on systems change that promotes positive outcomes for children and families. 

The demonstration initiative has afforded Sacramento County the opportunity to participate in peer-to-peer learning and connect with subject-matter experts to support planning and implementation of a cross-systems strategic plan using a public health 21st century child welfare system approach. This has included the development of strategic ten-year plan to eliminate child abuse and neglect fatalities by 2030 that the team will be presenting to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. 

Child Safety Forward Sacramento’s Prevention Cabinet has become the advisory body and collaborative partner for other child safety initiatives in the county. Because the Prevention Cabinet has such a widespread reach across county agencies and organizations, the Prevention Cabinet has been selected as the governing body of the county’s efforts to implement the Family First Sacramento Comprehensive Prevention Plan.   

This approach to collective impact is uniting cross-sector and community leaders under a common cause and will ultimately help leaders engage and collaborate across systems that touch families with a common goal and collective responsibility for keeping children safe.  


Sheila Boxley is the President & CEO of the Child Abuse Prevention Center, a local and state organization which provides services, training, research, and advocacy and serves as the association for the 500 family resource centers in California. 

Disclaimer: This product was supported by cooperative agreement number 2019-V3-GX-K005, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.  

The Streamlining Federal Grants Act was recently introduced in the Senate and House (S. 2286/H.R. 5934) and seeks to improve the effectiveness and performance of federal grants and cooperative agreements, simplify application and reporting requirements, and facilitate greater coordination among federal agencies responsible for delivering services to the public. Notable for nonprofits, the bill promotes consultation with charitable organizations and governments and calls for improving services delivered to communities and organizations that historically have been unable to access federal grants or cooperative agreements.

Read the nonprofit coalition letter in support of the Streamlining Federal Grants Act. The due date to sign on has now passed. We still encourage you to take action and reach out to your members of Congress today.

Budget Proposals Still Lack Necessary Funds for WIC

As the Nov. 17 deadline nears, lawmakers are still negotiating the federal budget, with many expecting another continuing resolution that will fund the government temporarily while compromises are hashed out. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the current proposals under consideration in both the House and Senate fall significantly below the necessary funding levels for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC stands as a remarkably effective program, providing nutrition aid, educational resources, and assistance to families with limited incomes. Absent supplementary funding, an estimated 600,000 eligible new parents and young children may be denied access to WIC, potentially resulting in waitlists and decreased enrollment. This funding shortfall could also dissuade eligible families from seeking program benefits.

Insufficient funding for WIC would mark an extraordinary situation, predominantly impacting recent parents, young children, and preschoolers, potentially resulting in heightened food insecurity and enduring health ramifications. The Senate bill allocates $6.3 billion for WIC, but this sum falls short due to the increasing levels of participation and rising food costs. Estimates suggest that Congress must allocate a total of $7.1 billion for WIC in 2024 to ensure that every eligible family can access the complete benefit. Congress is strongly encouraged to honor its commitment and supply the requisite funding for WIC as the appropriations process unfolds.

Youth Prevention and Recovery Reauthorization Act Introduced

On Oct. 18, Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) introduced the bipartisan Youth Prevention and Recovery Reauthorization Act to reauthorize funding for the Youth Prevention and Recovery Initiative. This initiative was established as part of the 2018 SUPPORT Act, focusing on expanding access to opioid addiction treatment for adolescents. It aims to secure ongoing funding for this critical resource within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, benefiting youth, families, care providers, and communities.

The backdrop for this legislation is a troubling rise in opioid use among American adolescents, with over 695,000 using opioids for nonmedical purposes in 2018, marking a substantial increase since 2015. Additionally, during the initial two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, monthly drug overdose deaths among adolescents aged 10 to 19 nearly tripled, according to the CDC. The legislation aims to address these difficulties by allocating funds to broaden the availability of medications for treating opioid addiction among adolescents and young adults. It also intends to raise awareness of the hazards linked to opioids and provide training to healthcare professionals, families, and school staff in effective strategies to support adolescents dealing with opioid use disorders.

New Funding for Community Development Projects

On Oct. 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the allocation of $16.7 million in new grants to support 39 Community Economic Development (CED) projects. The CED initiative aims to broaden the scope of employment prospects in regions grappling with long-standing poverty and elevated joblessness, all while eradicating hindrances to secure employment. These grants empower beneficiaries to furnish crucial supports, such as childcare, transportation, and financial education.

These grants aim to create over 575 new, sustainable full-time jobs for individuals residing in low-income communities across 26 states. Three-quarters of the job opportunities originating from each CED grant will be set aside for individuals with low incomes, and awardees will provide assistance services to tackle the employment obstacles faced by this group.

Notably, many of the awarded grants align with the Justice40 Initiative, benefitting disadvantaged communities and furthering the goal of fostering sustainable economies in areas that need it most. The CED initiative is managed by the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Community Services, which administers multiple anti-poverty programs to address poverty’s root causes, enhance economic security, and revitalize communities.

HHS and HUD Tackle Housing and Homelessness Together

On Nov. 1, Secretary Xavier Becerra was named the chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), which coordinates the federal homelessness strategy, supporting state and local efforts to address homelessness. To combat homelessness and enhance housing accessibility, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced several initiatives, including nine new grants worth $2.1 million to strengthen wrap around services for families living in affordable housing and 11 grants totaling nearly $4 million for preventing youth homelessness.

Furthermore, HHS and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have launched the Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator (Accelerator). This initiative aids states in enhancing pioneering housing-related assistance and services for individuals with disabilities and older adults facing homelessness risks. The Accelerator assembles cross-disciplinary teams from four states to confront shared challenges and enhance cooperation and coordination. Its primary objectives are to optimize resource utilization, harmonize policies, and provide comprehensive services.

Subscribe to the Policy and Advocacy Radar to receive our biweekly policy roundup, which includes commentary on issues in Social Current’s federal policy agenda, opportunities to take action, and curated news and opportunities.