MDHHS issues two RFPs to reduce racial disparities and mental health delinquencies

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently issued two Request for Proposals (RFPs) to improve the juvenile justice system in Michigan. The RFPs aim to implement programs to prevent delinquency related to mental health and to reduce racial and ethnic disparities (RED) in the system.

 

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Melinda Fandel, juvenile justice specialist with the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice (MCJJ) within MDHHS, says the funding for these RFPs comes from a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) housed within the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

The MCJJ works to provide MDHHS and the governor’s office with strategies, advice, and solutions to improve the juvenile justice system in Michigan.

Fandel says these RFPs were developed in their strategic planning sessions last year around MCJJ’s priority areas. She says these RFPs will “address issues occurring amongst youth in the juvenile justice system overall, not necessarily just in juvenile facilities.”

For the mental health RFP, MDHHS aims to fund programs that keep youth experiencing mental health concerns out of the juvenile justice system. Fandel says Michigan needs to find another pathway for minors to find appropriate care outside of the system. 

“There has been an increase in mental health needs among youth. Some of these youth are unable to get the mental health treatment that they need, therefore causing them to get involved in the juvenile justice system.”

MDHHS will award approximately $590,000 to multiple agencies over a two-year period if the RFP is extended to a second year. If not, it will award $295,000. The program period will begin Feb. 1, 2022, and last until Sept. 30, 2022. If the chosen agencies are successful in achieving the RFP’s mission, the program will end on Sept. 30, 2023. 

Fandel says any entity may apply and must apply before Jan. 4, 2022, at 3 p.m EST. 

“The MCJJ is looking for any proposal that will aid in providing mental health services for those youth at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system.”

For the RED RFP, MDHHS aims to reduce RED at the moment of arrest by implementing new programs addressing arrest encounters. 

Fandel says applicants must demonstrate the existence of disparities in their jurisdiction and propose activities to address these disparities. She says any county with a relative rate index—which compares the arrest rate for different racial groups with total juvenile arrest rates— of 1.62 or higher at the arrest decision point can apply for this grant. 

MDHHS will award approximately $600,000 to multiple agencies over a two-year period if the RFP is extended to a second year.  If not, it will award $300,000. The program period will begin Feb. 1, 2022, and last until Sept. 30, 2022. If the chosen agencies are successful in achieving the RFP’s mission, the program will end on Sept. 30, 2023. Applicants must apply by Jan. 4, 2022 at 3 p.m EST.

MDHHS also issued two other RFPs recently around expanding substance use and recovery services. One is to support substance use prevention and treatment through federally recognized tribal entities in Michigan, and the other is to expand services at Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) for those seeking long-term recovery.