Early Observations on States' Plans To Provide Children's Mental Health Services Under the ADAMH Block Grant

HRD-85-84: Published: Jul 10, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) information from 13 states concerning the extent to which its alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health services (ADAMH) block grant funds will be targeted for services to children; and (2) the affect of the new statutory provision which requires states to set aside at least 10 percent of ADAMH funds for mental health services on the total services for children.

GAO found that: (1) the 13 states surveyed were allocating ADAMH funds to meet the new set-aside requirement; (2) states varied the proportion of ADAMH funds allocated for the mental health portion of the block grant; (3) state allocations of ADAMH funds for mental health were generally based on the proportion of predecessor categorical funds for mental health services in each state; and (4) six of the 13 states reserved more funds for targeted groups than the set-aside required. GAO also found that: (1) the timing of the new mental health set-aside requirement may have complicated implementation in some states; (2) although state decisionmaking processes had been completed before the amendments were enacted, state applications for fiscal year 1985 block grant funds had been submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services in August 1984; (3) additional federal technical assistance might have facilitated state efforts to carry out set-aside programs; and (4) while the set-aside requirement prompted states to use ADAMH funds for disturbed children, the 1984 revisions affected the states' capacity to both meet the set-aside and maintain ADAMH funding for other ongoing mental health services.

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