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 For Immediate Release — Wednesday, September 13, 2000


Announcement Kicks Off $3 Million Initiative for Native American Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced the awarding of $237,332 for its Mental Health and Community Safety Initiative grants. These grants are the first increment of nearly a $3 million federal partnership to provide tribes with programs and innovative strategies designed to help meet mental health, behavioral, substance abuse, and safety needs of Native American communities.

"An alliance to address the needs of American Indians and Native Children was forged last year at the White House Conference of Mental Health," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "The resulting initiative is designed to provide tribes with assistance in developing innovative strategies that focus on the mental health, behavioral, substance abuse, and community safety needs of young people and their families."

Today's announcement of the six grants occurred under a coordinated federal initiative-with Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Education, and Interior as participants. Programs funded include a range of youth support services in communities and within the schools to implement drug and violence prevention, and to direct appropriate mental health care.

"COPS is proud to provide additional support to the Tribal Community, " said Thomas Frazier, Director of the COPS Office. "This funding is critical to the continued development of the law enforcement infrastructure in Native American communities."

This initiative provides for an anticipated award of $237,332 and will be used to improve public safety with a focus on youth in six communities: Eagle Village Council in Alaska, the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and the Elko Band Council in Nevada, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma in Oklahoma, and the Nisqually Indian Tribe in Washington State. The Department of Education has provided $50,000 of this total to implement drug and violence prevention programming in the community or school setting.

Additional funding for this historic initiative is expected over the next several weeks. The Indian Health Service is expected to fund $1.3 million, the Department of Health and Human Services $450,000, and the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention $1 million towards the initiative. Together, these awards under the Mental Health and Community Safety Initiative total more than $2.68 million in funding to develop innovative strategies that will meet the mental health and community safety needs of American Indian and Alaska native children, youth, and families.