March 29, 2022
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces $21 Million in Funding for Nation’s First Assertive Community Treatment Teams Dedicated to Children and Their Families

Governor Hochul Announces $21 Million in Funding for Nation’s First Assertive Community Treatment Teams Dedicated to Children and Their Families

New York is First State in Nation to use Innovative Program to Assist At-Risk Youth Who Have Not Responded Well to Traditional Treatment

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $21 million in funding awards for 15 Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams. New York is the first state in the nation to enact Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams, which serve children ages 10 to 21 and their families, providing services and support in the home and community settings. The teams allow young people who are at risk of entering residential or inpatient psychiatric treatment to receive services while remaining with their families and in their communities.

"When at-risk young people are suffering from hardships, it is imperative that families stay together," Governor Hochul said. "In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York is leading the way in developing new and innovative ways to provide behavioral healthcare to vulnerable individuals. With the help of this new program, children across the state will have the opportunity to remain with their families and receive the services they need."

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "We are very proud at OMH to be the first state mental health agency in the nation to modify the successful adult ACT team model and use it to serve young people and their families. The pioneering teams we are funding and developing will provide services to at-risk young people when and where they need it most, and help them stay in school and develop the skills they can use to lead successful and independent lives."

Representative Yvette Clarke said, "When our young people are suffering with mental health issues and facing additional barriers that prevent them from getting the support and treatment they need, the onus is on us, their elected officials, to ensure they find the right solutions to help them overcome these difficulties. Similar to my work as a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee when I helped introduce The Latonya Reeves Freedom Act, a crucial piece of legislation to prohibit discriminatory practices against individuals with disabilities who need Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS), so too must we join hands to codify existing laws and strengthen the rights of young New Yorkers with disabilities, including mental health disorders, in a setting that supports the delivery of adequate treatment services and promotes healing. Thanks to the NYS Office of Mental Health and Governor Hochul's commitment to help our young people and their families overcome the difficulties accessing the right mental health treatment, that obligation is being fulfilled. Today's funding announcement, which I wholeheartedly support, will provide our state's revolutionary Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams with the resources they need to keep our kids healthy in their own homes, and in their community."

Representative Paul Tonko said, "The pandemic took an unprecedented toll on the mental health of countless people, and few have felt that burden more than our kids. From the very beginning of this crisis, I pushed to ensure that we support our children, young adults and all Americans, and I was proud to help secure vital funding for the CMHS block grant and FMAP programs to provide that assistance. I thank Governor Hochul for her dedication to understanding and addressing the hidden costs of this crisis and providing support to our communities."

Representative Kathleen Rice said, "These Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams have the potential to be an important alternative support system for at-risk youth. I am proud that New York is investing in this type of innovative care for children and their families, and that we are continuing to expand access to mental health services across the state."

Representative Adriano Espaillat said, "I commend Governor Hochul on today's announcement to allocation $21 million for community treatment teams to further our efforts to address the mental health of children and their families. Community treatment teams are a vital component of our efforts to expanded access and services to mental health resources, and the development of these Youth Assertive Community Treatment providers will help increase the overall access to intensive and individualized services to provide critical support to children and their families daily as needed."

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, "I've long been committed to addressing the mental health challenges that many residents are dealing with each day, but COVID has created a new mental health crisis, especially for our children who were isolated at key developmental stages. The Assertive Community Treatment teams are an important component of the services we provide, and expanding them to our youth is a huge victory. We must always look for new opportunities that improve lives, and I commend Governor Hochul for her leadership in being the first in the nation to spearhead this initiative that rises to the occasion of our time."

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, "Expanding mental health services for our community is an ongoing priority for Broome County and local providers. These Youth ACT teams come at a time when the need has taken on new urgency with the effects the pandemic has had on our residents. The Children's Home is a great partner on this effort and I appreciate the Governor's commitment to helping us provide mental health services in new and innovative ways."

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, "Investing in mental health services for our young people is more important than ever as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This newly awarded funding will go a long in that effort. Onondaga County has made this a top priority and we are very happy that our state partners are doing the same. Thank you to Governor Hochul for her commitment to this important issue."

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said, "People with mental health issues can often feel isolated and alone. They need to know that a variety of different resources are available and this important funding can help save lives. Mental Health is an important healthcare issue and awareness and programs such as ACT will benefit those in need of assistance and their families."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, "These Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams bring vital services closer to the children and families who need them and will help ensure more at-risk young people have access to the treatment, professionals and resources they need to manage crises, create safe spaces and improve outcomes. I thank Hillside Family of Agencies for providing this important behavioral healthcare to Monroe County families and thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for her investment in this innovative program."

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said, "Oneida County is pleased to be part of this partnership with the State of New York and ICAN. In order to protect our children so that they do not fall between the cracks and program is that necessary safety net. Thank you Governor Hochul for your leadership on this important and critical issue. "

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "Suffolk County is pleased to be able to host the first Youth-Assertive Community Treatment Team in the State of New York. As we strive to provide and improve access to behavioral health services for our residents, we embrace new opportunities and seek to lead by example. The unique structure of the ACT Team will provide a multidisciplinary team approach bringing mental health services to the youth and their families through a community/home based model."

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, "Our young people have faced hardship beyond belief due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is another tool to help them find their footing, to help them stay in school and go on to lead productive and successful adult lives. I applaud the Governor for her leadership in providing innovative ways to help at-risk young people have access to behavioral healthcare. The dollars announced today will greatly benefit children and families across Westchester County and New York State."

Schenectady County Legislature and Chairman Anthony Jasenski said, "Schenectady County is grateful to be able to offer this innovative service to our county's most vulnerable youth. The Youth Act Team, in collaboration with Northern Rivers, will provide intensive clinical services for youth who are released from inpatient hospitalizations or treatment centers, or at risk of entering such facilities. It is in our community's best interest to keep our youth safe at home, in school and in the community. We look forward to having this valuable service in Schenectady County."

Chairwoman of the Niagara County Legislature Rebecca Wydysh said, "Meeting the psychiatric needs of youth can be a difficult challenge. I applaud New York State for trying youth ACT teams to address this need. I'm a firm believer that keeping young people in their most familiar settings while receiving treatment offers the best chance of success."

Chairman of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors George Seneck said, "The new announced Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams will bring vital psychiatric treatment to children and their families in Chenango County. This innovative approach will allow Chenango County youth to remain in school and with their families providing them with the skill set to become productive adults. Funded by New York State this program will provide desperately needed treatment services."

Nearly $15 million in funding is annual and will be provided through state-aid and Medicaid reimbursements, and $6 million is one-time start-up funding from the federal government provided through the time-limited expansions of the Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) Block Grant and Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) programs. Additional funding for those programs was allocated under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.

Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team providers are not-for-profit agencies that have experience providing mental health services to persons with serious emotional disturbance. They will create and oversee the ACT teams, which are multi-disciplinary with professional staff including psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, mental health clinicians, and peer advocates.

CEO of The Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services Dr. Jeffrey Brenner said, "Investing in New York State's mental health workforce is crucial to keeping youth and families healthy in communities all across the state. The Jewish Board applauds Gov. Hochul's support of youth assertive community treatment teams, which will enable us to provide innovative, evidence-based services to youth who may not have responded to traditional mental health treatments. Providing intensive, coordinated services to youth and families in the communities where they live offers a flexible and powerful path to recovery."

Hillside President and CEO Maria Cristalli said, "The Youth ACT program is specifically intended to address unique challenges faced by young people and families at a particularly vulnerable time in their lives. It maintains an appropriate focus on families and home-based assistance, which is always the ideal. Hillside is proud to work with our colleagues, county and state partners to provide this innovative service that will deliver assistance and support where and when it's most needed."

Executive Director of Circare Scott Ebner said, "Circare is honored to receive funding for a Youth ACT Team in Onondaga County. The ACT model is a necessary addition to the continuum of care services needed to support families with complex needs to be successful in the community and prevent further disruption to the health of families by avoiding institutional care. The establishment of a team-based approach to care delivered in the community setting is necessary to better engage families from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Youth ACT will make our community stronger and better able to support youth and families who experience challenges with behavioral health issues."

Hope For Youth Executive Director Dr. David Hegarty said, "We are terrifically excited to be starting our Children's Assertive Community Treatment Team this week. The pandemic has made it difficult for many children and families to access comprehensive mental health care and our ACT Team will help bring services into the homes of stressed families."

CEO of Northern Rivers Family of Services William T. Gettman, Jr. said, "We salute Governor Hochul for her vision and leadership in paving the way for impactful, effective programming that will make a real difference in the lives of children and families statewide. Adult ACT has proven effective in helping adults learn to live successfully with psychiatric challenges and we are proud to have been part of its implementation; now Youth ACT will help children with similar challenges in the Capital Region and beyond achieve success while safely remaining in their homes and communities with their families, friends, and support systems."

CEO of CN Guidance and Counseling Services Jeffrey Friedman said, "This critical funding will ensure that children and their families have access to vital mental health treatment and crisis response services at a time when our community has been suffering from the emotional toll of the pandemic. Since the Governor has taken office, she has prioritized mental health services in the state of New York. We are grateful to Governor Hochul for her commitment to the emotional wellbeing of our community's children--including those who are most vulnerable."

CEO Children's Home Wyoming Conference George Dermody said, "The Children's Home is proud to a part of this historic leap forward in providing high quality cost effective mental health treatment to children and families. Youth ACT teams will work with families and communities to ensure that children's mental health needs are addressed and young people are equipped with the skills to lead happy healthy fulfilling lives. We applaud Gov. Hochul's bold action to support children and know that Broome County families will benefit."

President and CEO of Child & Family Services Elizabeth McPartland said, "Child & Family Services is excited to work in partnership with Erie and Niagara Counties to provide this life-saving intervention for children and their families. We recognize the critical need to stabilize the mental health of children so they may flourish in their homes and schools, and reduce higher level interventions and placements. For 150 years, C&FS has worked to strengthen families, and we will continue to do so through ground-breaking programming such as Youth ACT."

ICAN CEO/Executive Director Steven Bulger said, "Unprecedented times require unprecedented solutions. We at ICAN applaud New York State for investing in our State's most precious resource, our children. Kids and their families today face challenges that traditional services are not equipped to address. The innovative Children's Assertive Community Treatment model is the right intervention at the right time and will ensure that even the most vulnerable youth can succeed."

President and CEO of Child & Family Services Elizabeth McPartland said, "Child & Family Services is excited to work in partnership with Erie and Niagara Counties to provide this life-saving intervention for children and their families. We recognize the critical need to stabilize the mental health of children so they may flourish in their homes and schools, and reduce higher level interventions and placements. For 150 years, C&FS has worked to strengthen families, and we will continue to do so through ground-breaking programming such as Youth ACT."

Traci Donnelly, CEO of The Child Center of NY said, “We are grateful to serve as a Youth ACT provider at a time when it’s been increasingly difficult, and more important than ever, to meet New Yorkers’ mental health needs. Youth ACT teams fill a vital role in meeting those needs for young people who are the hardest to reach and most at risk of needing a higher level of care. Providing these services in the communities where people live, with the least restrictive level of care, is deeply aligned with our mission of strengthening families and building communities. The ACT model meets clients where they are—literally and figuratively—and gives them a real chance to get the help they need while remaining with their families. We thank Governor Hochul and the Office of Mental Health for supporting this innovative and effective approach and recognizing the value of partnership with community-based organizations that are trusted service providers in hard-to-reach communities.”

By using a team approach, Youth ACT teams can deliver intensive, highly coordinated, individualized services and skilled therapeutic interventions to ensure the child and their family have the level of treatment and services to support their recovery. They are highly responsive and flexible to meet the individualized, changing needs of the child and family, and they offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The development of Youth ACT represents a commitment by the NYS Office of Mental Health to increase access to services in the home and community for children and youth with mental health issues and their families. As the teams begin to treat clients, OMH will evaluate their effectiveness, and has formed a steering committee of researchers, clinicians, and family and youth partners to guide the evaluation and refine the model.

Youth ACT teams by region include:

Capital Region:
Parson's Child and Family Centers, serving Albany & Schenectady Counties, 36 slot team

Central New York:
Onondaga Case Management, serving Onondaga County, 48 slot team
Hillside, serving Chenango and Cortland counties, 36 slot team

Finger Lakes:
Hillside, serving Monroe County, 48 slot team

Long Island:
Central Nassau, serving Nassau County, 48 slot team
Hope for Youth, serving Suffolk County, 36 slot team

MHA Westchester, serving Westchester County, 48 slot team

New York City:
Child Center of NY, serving Manhattan, 48 slot team
Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services, serving Staten Island, 36 slot team
Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services, serving Queens, 36 slot team
Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services, serving Bronx, 36 slot team
JCCA, serving Brooklyn, 48 slot team

Southern Tier:
Children's Home of Wyoming, serving Broome County, 48 slot team

Western New York:
Child and Family Services, serving Erie & Niagara Counties, 48 slot team

Mohawk Valley:
Integrated Community Alternatives Network (ICAN), serving Oneida County, 48 slot team

OMH will soon be issuing a Request for Proposal to develop another five teams that will serve children and families in the following counties:

Capital Region:
One team serving Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties

One team serving Orange County

Mohawk Valley:
One team serving Fulton and Montgomery Counties

Finger Lakes:
One team Serving Ontario, Wayne, Seneca and Yates Counties

Southern Tier:
One team Serving Steuben and Chemung Counties

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640


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