Monday, September 12, 2022 - 02:58 pm

North Dakota’s Health and Human Services agency’s (HHS) Behavioral Health Division has been awarded a four-year System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Grant by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to enhance mental health outcomes for children and youth, birth through age 21.

The state will receive $3 million per year starting Sept. 30, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2026 to build and expand a comprehensive set of community-based behavioral health services and supports for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families. These include outpatient services, 24-hour crisis emergency services, intensive home-based outreach and case management, intensive day treatment, respite care, recovery support services, and transition from the child/youth services to the adult delivery system.

“Receiving this grant award is an important opportunity for North Dakota,” said Behavioral Health Executive Director Pamela Sagness. “In the near future, children and youth with complex needs will be able to access quality behavioral health services that are not currently available.”

The grant funding will allow HHS to partner with both public and private providers in 10 counties served by the West Central Human Service Center in Bismarck and six counties served by the Lake Region Human Service Center in Devils Lake. These counties include Benson, Burleigh, Cavalier, Eddy, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Ramsey, Rolette, Sheridan, Sioux and Towner counties and four tribal nations: The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Spirit Lake Nation, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation.       

North Dakota was one of six states awarded the grant funding. This work aligns with the Human Services Research Institute’s report to enhance and streamline the system of care for children and youth. The HHS behavioral health grants administrator position approved by the 2021 North Dakota Legislature was instrumental in North Dakota receiving this opportunity.

The Behavioral Health Division is responsible for reviewing and identifying service needs and activities in the state's behavioral health system to ensure health and safety, access to services and quality services. It also establishes quality assurance standards for the licensure of substance use disorder program services and facilities and provides policy leadership in partnership with public and private entities. For more information, visit