President’s Proposed FY15 Budget Includes Investments in Youth Transitions

man with folders at work

President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposes significant investments across the department to facilitate transitions to adulthood for vulnerable youth.

Healthy Transitions. The Budget includes $20 million to continue the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Healthy Transitions program to assist 16 to 25 year-olds with mental illnesses and their families in accessing and navigating behavioral health treatment systems.

Youth Transition Initiative The President proposes a new $5 million Youth Transitions Initiative aimed at helping youth with intellectual or developmental disabilities transition into post-secondary education and employment. This initiative will provide grants to replicate and evaluate the outcomes of programs that have shown promising employment results for youth with I/DD and include the collaboration of Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports (LTSS), vocational rehabilitation, Social Security, and education systems. The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) will lead the initiative, which specifically seeks to:

  • Promote innovative utilization of health and LTSS in coordination with education, vocational rehabilitation, and employment services
  • Encourage integration of health and LTSS transition planning into secondary and post-secondary education programs
  • Provide technical assistance and training to ensure integration of health and LTSS with educational, vocational rehabilitation and employment services
  • Establish and implement a coordinated federal evaluation agenda to ensure that outcomes across systems are measured and reported

Psychosocial Interventions for Children in the Child Welfare System The budget proposes a new five-year demonstration project between ACF and CMS to provide evidence-based psychosocial interventions to children and youth in the foster care system to reduce the over-prescription of psychotropic medications and to improve outcomes for these youth. Over five years, this program would include $250 million from ACF and $500 million from CMS. The funding would build capacity in the child welfare workforce, provide reliable screening and assessment tools, enhance coordination between child welfare and Medicaid, and provide training for foster and adoptive parents, guardians, and judges.