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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2009; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.60.12.1699
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SAMHSA grants for reentry from the criminal justice system. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2010 for Offender Reentry Program grants. The program's purpose is to expand or enhance substance abuse treatment and related recovery and reentry services to sentenced juvenile and adult offenders returning to the community from incarceration for criminal or juvenile offenses. Applicants are expected to form stakeholder partnerships that will plan, develop, and provide a transition process to ensure receipt of substance abuse treatment and related reentry services. SAMHSA expects that a total of $39.6 million will be available for the three-year project period. Applications are due January 19, 2010. More information is available at www.samhsa.gov.

NASMHPD forensic presentations available online: Selected presentations from the 2009 meeting of the Forensic Division of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) are now available on the association's Web site. One featured presentation describes a Pennsylvania program that assigns peer support workers to mental health consumers who become involved in the justice system. The workers facilitate community reentry and reduce recidivism. In another presentation forensic directors of behavioral health departments in four states describe common elements of outpatient programs to restore competency; only seven states have adopted an outpatient option. Other presentations address evaluator bias in forensic evaluations and trauma-informed treatment of forensic clientele.

First Focus report on federal investment in children's well-being:Children's Budget 2009 provides current data on federal spending on children in eight areas: child welfare, education, health, housing, income support, nutrition, safety, and training. In 2009 the dollar amount increased 10.5% over 2008—to about $266 billion. However, the amount accounted for less than 10% (9.2%) of total nondefense spending. The report paints a bleak picture of the status of many children in 2009. Before the economic crisis, over 13 million children lived in poverty, and it is estimated that an additional three million will become poor as a result of the recession and two million will be affected by the foreclosure crisis. Moreover, 8.2 million children are living without health insurance. The United States ranks 20th of 21 industrialized nations in measures of child poverty and well-being and has the second worst infant mortality rate. The report highlights efforts in 2009 to reverse a downward trend in spending in recent years. For example, of the $787 billion stimulus package, almost $144 billion went to children and children's programs. First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Its 136-page, reader-friendly 2009 report is available at www.firstfocus.net.

Kaiser brief on Part D changes in 2010: An issue brief released by the Kaiser Family Foundation provides an overview of the 1,576 stand-alone Medicare Part D drug plans that will be available in 2010. Most people with serious mental illness rely on low-income subsidy plans, also known as benchmark plans, which require no monthly premium. The number of such plans has fallen significantly since Part D was implemented. In 2010 a total of 307 benchmark plans will be available, 102 fewer than in 2006—a 25% decrease. About 3.3 million people, or four of every ten current benchmark enrollees, are in plans that will no longer qualify as benchmark plans in 2010. Sixty-five percent must switch plans on their own, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will reassign the others. All those affected will receive letters about choosing a different plan or being reassigned. Part D Plan Availability in 2010 and Key Changes Since 2006 is based on information released by CMS on October 1, 2009. The 11-page issue brief is available at www.kff.org.

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