February 22, 2013

Grant to help at-risk teens

MALONE — Franklin County will receive $900,000 in the next three years to fund programs for teens with substance-abuse and mental-health problems.

Citizens Advocates Inc. is one of only two out-patient treatment providers in New York state to receive the funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

It provides up to $300,000 a year to identify at-risk teens and increase access to treatment and mental-health services through the New York Serving Adolescence in Need of Treatment program of the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

Five people will be hired to support the program, said Beth Lawyer, Citizen Advocates director of behavioral-health services.

She said the rate of teen substance abuse has decreased the past 10 years in the region, yet alcohol and marijuana use among Franklin County youths in grades 7 to 12 is higher than the national average.

“Too often, struggling youth are placed in an adult system of care that doesn’t meet their needs or adequately support parents and caregivers in addressing substance use and emotional problems,” Lawyer said in a news release.

“This grant will expand our staffing to exclusively work with these youth and families, providing individualized family-centered care.”

The release said the grant “will expand methods to identify youth needing specialized care for substance abuse and mental illness, increase access to treatment and recovery support for this population and improve successful outcomes.”

The State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services said Citizen Advocates was chosen “because of its ability to integrate its treatment program for adolescents into a larger menu of behavioral-health services.”

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