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MOA with BIA and BIE on Youth Behavioral Health

MOA with BIA and BIE on Youth Behavioral Health
December 09
10:17 2016

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education entered into an Interagency Agreement that will increase access to mental and behavioral health services for students attending BIE schools and youth detained in BIA Office of Justice Services facilities.

“The Indian Health Service is dedicated to addressing behavioral health issues across Indian Country with a special focus on Native youth,” said IHS Principal Deputy Director Mary L. Smith. “This Agreement is another major step we have taken to increase access to quality health care in tribal communities. This is a great partnership and key to caring for our Native youth.”

“In keeping with President Obama’s Generation Indigenous initiative to improve opportunities for Native youth and the BIA’s Tiwahe initiative to strengthen Native families, this interagency agreement will enable the BIA and BIE to work collaboratively with IHS to bring much-needed behavioral health resources to Native youth,” said Lawrence S. “Larry” Roberts, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior. “I want to thank IHS for working with us to bring these resources to our educational and juvenile detention facilities. The services will be of immense help to our students and youth detainees and their families.”

The Agreements allows each agency to establish local partnerships between IHS federally operated mental health programs, BIE-operated elementary and secondary schools and BIA OJS-operated juvenile detention centers to provide mental health assessment and counseling services, which includes telebehavioral health services.

In the first year of this agreement, more than 25 schools could access these services.

Under this 10-year Agreement, behavioral health services will be offered at BIE schools and OJS facilities. Tribes, tribally controlled schools or detention facilities may enter into a MOA with the three agencies for these services; however, tribal participation is completely voluntary.

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