Kalamazoo Community Foundation has received a $250,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to support Family & Children Services’ start-up of a residential alternative focused on crisis support and stabilization for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances. The grant will also support the agency’s Children’s Trauma Treatment program for children in foster care.

The primary goal of the initiative is for fewer long-term residential placements for children facing a mental health crisis. Funding will also provide temporary, overnight care – combined with psychiatric evaluation, nursing care, and coordination of community-based treatment planning – to an eight-county region in two, six-bedroom facilities on Family & Children Services’ campus at 1608 Lake Street in Kalamazoo.

"This is a powerful example of collaboration toward a common goal, with creative alignment among state, community foundation and local nonprofit agency resources," says Carrie Pickett-Erway, president/CEO of the Community Foundation. "We appreciate this MHEF grant, and our community is fortunate to have Family & Children Services serving local residents through this innovative initiative."

According to Rosemary Gardiner, CEO of Family & Children Services, "Families whose child or teen is suffering a mental health crisis will now have a continuum of care from immediate crisis response, through the Mobile Crisis Response program, to short-term crisis residential support focused on stabilizationclose to home."

Gardiner said, "Our human services and medical partners have needed this resource for many years. They encouraged Family & Children Services to step forward and create a local crisis residential solution. Children and youth with more acute needs simply do better in a smaller, home-like setting that can provide psychiatric evaluation, nursing care, and an individualized program for stabilization. We are honored to build this resource with the community through their referrals and create more options for children and families when they are struggling."

Rob Fowler, MHEF board chair, says, "We look forward to building additional relationships with Michigan’s community foundations and other nonprofit organizations as they continue focusing their work to improve the health of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents."

Kalamazoo Community Foundation was one of 29 community foundations in Michigan to receive a MHEF grant during the 2015/2016 cycle.

Family & Children Services’ mission is to support, strengthen and preserve the safety, well-being and dignity of children, individuals and families.

MHEF’s mission is to improve the health of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care, with special emphasis on the health and wellness of children and seniors. The fund was created as part of 2013 state legislation that allowed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to become a nonprofit mutual health insurer.