Since 1999, the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice have collaborated on the SS/HS Initiative. The SS/HS Initiative is a discretionary grant program that provides students, schools, and communities with Federal funding to implement an enhanced, coordinated, comprehensive plan of activities, programs, and services that focus on promoting healthy childhood development and preventing violence and alcohol and other drug abuse. Eligible local educational agencies (LEAs) or a consortium of LEAs, in partnership with their community’s local public mental health authority, local law enforcement agency, and local juvenile justice entity, are able to submit a single application for Federal funds to support a variety of activities, curriculums, programs, and services.
The SS/HS Initiative draws on the best practices of education, justice, social services, and mental health systems to provide integrated and comprehensive resources for prevention programs and prosocial services for youth. To apply for SS/HS, fiscal year (FY) 2004 grantees and their partners proposed an integrated, comprehensive, communitywide, and community-specific plan to address the problems of school violence and alcohol and other drug abuse. This plan focused on six elements:
- Element 1: Safe school environment.
- Element 2: Alcohol and other drugs and violence prevention and early intervention programs.
- Element 3: School and community mental health preventive and treatment intervention services.
- Element 4: Early childhood psychosocial and emotional development programs.
- Element 5: Supporting and connecting schools and communities.
- Element 6: Safe school policies.
SS/HS grantee’s comprehensive plans are designed to provide students, schools, and families with a network of effective services, supports, and activities that help students develop the skills and emotional resilience necessary to promote positive mental health, to engage in prosocial behavior, and to prevent violent behavior and drug use; create schools and communities that are a safe, disciplined, and drug-free environment; and engage parents, community organizations, and social services agencies to help develop an infrastructure that will institutionalize and sustain successful grant components after Federal funding has ended.
SS/HS grant applicants are eligible for 3 consecutive years of funding. Continuation of funding is subject to the availability of Federal funds and progress achieved by the grantee. The maximum yearly award for SS/HS grants is $1 million for rural school districts and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools, $2 million for suburban school districts, and $3 million for urban districts.
In making awards under this grant program, the Federal SS/HS partners may (1) take into consideration the geographic distribution and diversity of activities addressed by the projects, in addition to the rank order of the applicant’s scores, and (2) in accordance with Section 75.217 (d) of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations, ensure equitable distribution of grants under this initiative among urban, suburban, rural, and BIA LEAs. Contingent on the availability of funds, the Federal SS/HS partners may make additional awards in FY 2005 from the rank-ordered list of scores of unfunded applicants from this competition.