The COPS Mental Health and Community Safety Initiative for American Indian/Alaska Native Children, Youth and Families (MHCSI) is one of several grant programs intended to meet the most serious needs of law enforcement in Native American communities. MHCSI not only offers funding for the salaries and benefits of newly hired officers to serve as school resource officers or community resource officers, but also provides funding for law enforcement training, uniforms, basic issue equipment, and technology and vehicles for both new and existing police officers. Resources funded through this initiative must be used to enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to address the mental health, behavioral, and substance abuse needs of Native American youth and their families by developing innovative strategies that focus on establishing collaborative partnerships with other community service agencies. The initiative is designed to help law enforcement provide a range of youth support services and programs in both the community and the school system.
COPS awarded MHCSI funding in both FY2000 and FY2001, and a total of $550,000 was available under this program in FY2002. This COPS grant program is part of a collaborative initiative that also includes the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. As such, MHCSI will provide tribes and tribal organizations with easy-to-access assistance through a coordinated federal grant process.