Local agencies receive grant

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health, John Martin, was on hand in Belmont County on Wednesday to presents a grant awarded to two local agencies.

The BHN Alliance and the Belmont-Harrison-Monroe Mental Health and Recovery Board were able to form a partnership to create a coordinated plan for the care of at risk youth in our area via this $500,000 grant. A two-part disbursement of the funds will help create a team approach to help better serve children who require more intense service needs.

Martin was extremely pleased with the submissions for the grant which reached nearly 40. Martin pointed out how impressed he was with the proposed plan which was laid out in the local submission. Instead of using the funds to start up programs in other area of the states, these two agencies already have many resources in place to build upon to properly utilize the grant.

“With some of these kids with difficult circumstances, the only way to be successful is if our multiple systems can work together,” Martin explained. “What we were impressed with in this proposal was that we already have the mental health and developmental disability systems already having a history of working together, so it really gave the state the opportunity to support relationships already in place to take it to another level.”

The grant will fund intensive care coordination, crisis stabilization and treatment, therapeutic mentoring, family respite and support for potentially hundreds of children in the Belmont, Harrison, Noble, and Monroe counties.

“Another aspect we looked at was once we have these resources in place, it comes down to keeping people here to continue. Many times at the state level we see the numbers where they don’t come back. Keeping people in the community to continue to provide support is so vital.” Martin continued.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich made these funds available from the Strong Families, Safe Communities program intended to better many communities across the state.

Muklewicz can be reached at mmuklewicz@timesleaderonline.com