September 7, 2021
Contact: Tracy LaPointe
(803) 898-8582

Mental Health receives $11 million grant to serve kids and families in Cherokee, Spartanburg, and Union counties

Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH), in partnership with the Department of Children’s Advocacy, partners of the Joint Council on Children and Adolescents, has been awarded a System of Care Expansion grant from the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in three Upstate counties.

The Family Options for Cherokee, Union and Spartanburg, or FOCUS, grant will provide more than $11 million over a four-year period to increase and expand services for children and youth, aged 0-21 years, who have a serious emotional disturbance, and their families in the three-county area.

The grant will enable the local SCDMH community mental health center, Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center (SAMHC), to hire additional staff to provide in-home support for families, reach out to marginalized communities, and offer specialized treatment to children who have experienced trauma and families with very young children.

“FOCUS is designed to support the significant need to comprehensively address the behavioral health needs of children, youth, and families in this region,” said SCDMH Director of Children’s Services Louise Johnson, who will serve as principal investigator for the project. “Our hope is that the initiative can possibly be replicated throughout the State.”

FOCUS is the largest System of Care grant awarded to South Carolina to date and reflects the community network of providers that have been working together for years to help develop the infrastructure needed for the initiative to be successful. This includes the United Way of the Piedmont and their long-term sponsorship of the Behavioral Health Task Force, as well as the Mary Black Foundation and their Child and Adolescent Mental Health Study group.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s mission is to support the recovery of people with mental illnesses, giving priority to adults with serious and persistent mental illness and children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. The Agency serves approximately 100,000 people each year, approximately 30,000 of whom are children and adolescents. As South Carolina’s public mental health system, it provides outpatient mental health services through a network of 16 community mental health centers and associated clinics, serving all 46 counties, and psychiatric hospital services via three State hospitals, including one for substance use treatment. In addition to mental health services, the Agency provides long-term care services in one community nursing care center and three State veterans’ nursing homes.