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KDADS receives $3.9M grant to expand employment support for mentally ill

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sept. 17, 2014

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has been awarded a five-year, $3.9 million federal grant to expand employment services for Kansans with severe mental illness, including those with a mental illness and co-occurring substance disorder.

KDADS received the grant to expand individual placement and support services from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“One of Governor Brownback’s priorities has been to expand employment opportunities for individuals faced with serious challenges,” KDADS Secretary Kari Bruffett said. “These services will help individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring mental and substance-use disorders to obtain meaningful employment and lead productive, fulfilling lives.”

The Enhancing Supported Employment in Kansas (ESEK) project is designed to help people with mental illness achieve steady employment in mainstream competitive jobs, either part-time or full-time.

The University of Kansas Center for Mental Health Research and Innovation will assist KDADS with implementation of the project, and the KU Center for Public Partnerships & Research will evaluate it.

Staff will work with community mental health centers to expand employment services at Comcare in Wichita and the Compass Behavioral Health Center in Southwest Kansas, headquartered in Garden City. Each site will provide supported employment services to at least 25 clients during the project’s first year.

Total funding for the five-year grant is $3.967 million, including $798,738 for the first year.

The project will:

  • expand employment services to non-Medicaid clients.
  • include paid employment peer mentors within each implementation site.
  • establish a statewide supported employment steering committee and develop local supported employment steering committees.
  • provide supported employment services through video teleconferencing.

The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute. It is supported in part by a variety of underwriters. The News Service is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy-making environment.

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