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FY 2010 RFA Grant Application Information (RFA)

Application Information Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)

Request for Applications (RFA)

Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention Practices in Schools
Short Title: Prevention Practices in Schools

(Initial Announcement)

Request for Applications (RFA) No. SM-10-017
Posting on April 20, 2010
Original Receipt date: May 20, 2010
Announcement Type: Initial

Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No
.: 93.243

Key Dates:

Application Deadline

Applications are due by May 20, 2010

Intergovernmental Review
(E.O. 12372)

Applicants must comply with E.O. 12372 if their State(s) participates.  Review process recommendations from the State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) are due no later than 60 days after application deadline.

Public Health System Impact Statement (PHSIS)
/Single State Agency Coordination
Applicants must send the PHSIS to appropriate State and local health agencies by application deadline. Comments from Single State Agency are due no later than 60 days after application deadline.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2010 for the Implementing Evidence- Based Prevention Practices in Schools grant program. The purpose of this program is to prevent aggressive and disruptive behavior among young children in the short term and prevent antisocial behavior and the use of illicit drugs in the longer term. Grantees will implement an evidence-based practice in schools, specifically the Good Behavior Game, which is a behavioral classroom management strategy that involves helping children learn how to work together. The approach of this practice facilitates a positive learning environment and has been shown to decrease disruptive behavior in the classroom.

SAMHSA is committed to the implementation of evidence-based practices in order to promote positive behavioral health and academic success. A strong evidence base demonstrates that students who participate in high quality social learning contexts show decreased disruptive behaviors and increased achievement scores. A 2009 Institute of Medicine Report, Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities, noted that the Good Behavioral Game classroom intervention demonstrates strong evidence for long term effects on aggression along with mental health and substance abuse related outcomes, particularly among boys. The Good Behavior Game integrates the findings of prevention science and education research and helps teachers manage their classrooms effectively as it balances discipline and academic instruction.

The long-term benefits of using this evidence-based practice among children at high risk are significant:

  • Eighty-six percent of Good Behavior Game participants attained a high school diploma, compared with a rate of 19 percent among similar students who did not participate in the program.
  • Ninety-nine percent of non-participants went on to use illicit drugs, compared with 66 percent of participants.
  • Eighty percent of non-participants demonstrated antisocial behavior in later years, compared with 43 percent of participants.

Through coordinated services, Good Behavior Game grants will work in funded communities to:

  • Decrease teacher reports of aggressive behaviors in the classroom (short-term)
  • Decrease the percentage of students involved in aggressive behavior (long-term)
  • Increase the number of people trained in behavioral health-related practices/activities
  • Increase the number of children exposed to behavioral health awareness messages
  • Increase the number of classrooms per school implementing the Good Behavior Game
  • Increase the number of teachers who successfully implemented the Good Behavior Game each year

Mental, emotional and behavioral health problems are common in children and adolescents. Twenty percent (16 million) of the 80 million children and adolescents in the U.S. have emotional disturbance or mental illness with at least mild functional impairment (DHHS, 1999). Approximately 5.5 million youth between the ages of 12 and 17 received treatment or counseling for emotional or behavioral problems (SAMHSA, 2006), and every community and many families in the United States are impacted by mental illness. Implementation of evidence-based behavioral health promotion practices to deter problem behaviors can occur in a variety of settings including schools. School-aged children and youth have huge unmet behavioral health needs. Studies have estimated this need to be between twenty and thirty eight percent (Committee on School Health, 2004; Paternite, 2005)

The Good Behavior Game promotes each child's positive behavior by rewarding student teams for complying with criteria set for appropriate behavior, such as working quietly, following directions, or being polite to each other. The team-based approach uses peer encouragement to help children follow rules and learn how to be good students. At the same time, it enables teachers to build strong academic skills and positive behaviors.

More than two decades of randomized field trials in Baltimore, MD show that using the Good Behavior Game in the first and second grades produces important outcomes in the short-, medium-, and long-term for students with high levels of aggression in the first grade. The short-term gains include reducing classroom aggression while developing more on-task behavior.

By middle school, those who played the Good Behavior Game in the first 2 years of elementary school were less likely to be delinquent and in need of behavioral health services than those not playing the game. At ages 19-21, those who played the game were far more likely to have attained a high school diploma and far less likely to have needed special educational services, to have been diagnosed with antisocial behavior, or to have used illicit drugs, compared to those who did not play the game in the early elementary years.

During the Good Behavior Game, a teacher divides the class into heterogeneous teams of four to seven students. The teacher then posts rules that explain what is considered improper student behavior, such as verbal disruption or leaving one's seat without permission. A team receives a checkmark whenever a member of the team displays inappropriate behavior. Teams win when the number of checkmarks does not exceed four by the end of the game. Initially, rewards for winning include receiving stickers for good behavior. As time progresses, winning teams receive extra privileges like a longer recess. The length of a game initially lasts 10 minutes and gradually increases until it spans an entire school day.

The Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention Practices in Schools is one of SAMHSA's services grant programs. SAMHSA's services grants are designed to address gaps in mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services and/or to increase the ability of States, units of local government, American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes and tribal organizations, and community- and faith-based organizations to help specific populations or geographic areas with serious, emerging behavioral health problems. Service delivery should begin by the 4th month of the project at the latest.

SAMHSA has demonstrated that - prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover from mental and substance use disorders. Behavioral health services improve health status and reduce health care and other costs to society. Continued improvement in the delivery and financing of prevention, treatment and recovery support services provides a cost effective opportunity to advance and protect the Nation's health. To continue to improve the delivery and financing of prevention, treatment and recovery support services, SAMHSA has identified ten Strategic Initiatives to focus the Agency's work on people and emerging opportunities. More information on these Initiatives is available at the SAMHSA website:

The application responsive to this Request for Application must address the following SAMHSA Strategic Initiative:

Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness - Create prevention prepared communities where individuals, families, schools, workplaces, and communities take action to prevent and reduce mental illness and substance abuse across the lifespan.

The Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention Practices in Schools grants are authorized under 520A of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. This announcement addresses Healthy People 2010 focus area 18 (Mental Health and Mental Disorders).


Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants are local educational agencies in economically disadvantaged communities including the duly authorized official of a federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native Tribe or tribal organization. Tribal organization means the recognized body of any AI/AN Tribe; any legally established organization of American Indians/Alaska Natives which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization and which includes the maximum participation of American Indians/Alaska Natives in all phases of its activities.

For the purposes of this grant announcement, "local educational agency" means:

A public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control of or direction of, or to perform service functions for public elementary or secondary schools in:

  • A city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State; or such combination of school districts or counties a State recognizes as an administrative agency for its public elementary or secondary schools; or any other public institution or agency that has administrative control and direction of a public elementary or secondary school.

  • An elementary school or secondary school funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs but only to the extent that including the school makes the school eligible for programs for which specific eligibility is not provided to the school in another provision of law and the school does not have a student population that is smaller than the student population of the local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act with the smallest student population, except that the school shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of any State educational agency other than the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

  • Educational service agencies and consortia of those agencies.

  • The State educational agency in a State in which the State educational agency is the sole educational agency for all public schools.

LEAs in economically disadvantaged communities are uniquely qualified to achieve the positive outcomes associated with implementing the Good Behavior Game. Economically disadvantaged kids should be served by this school-based program, and therefore LEAs in these communities are best suited to implement this intervention/practice. Since the Good Behavior Game was developed for and tested with kids with high levels of aggression, the research demonstrates and SAMHSA feels strongly that economic disadvantage is associated with high levels of aggression in the short-term and antisocial behavior and illicit drug use in the long term.

Eligibility for the Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention Practices in Schools is limited to local educational agencies with elementary schools in which 50% or more students are receiving free or reduced fee lunches according to the annual guidelines proposed by the Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, Child Nutrition Programs-Income Eligibility Guidelines (

Elementary schools in tribal areas of a federally recognized tribe or tribal organization are also eligible to apply for this grant program.

States are not eligible to apply because the initiative is targeted to LEAs and elementary schools in which 50% or more students are receiving free or reduced fee lunches. In the vast majority of cases, states do not have the direct connection with a local elementary school which would be necessary to successfully coordinate the practice in a local elementary school. In those cases where such a relationship does exist, there is nothing in the RFA prohibiting the state from partnering with a LEA in support of the project and playing a more direct role.

Non-profit and community organizations are also not eligible to apply because of the need for immediate access to the local elementary school classroom. Restricting eligibility to the LEA ensures that the grantee will have this immediate connection to first and second grade classrooms in local elementary schools as well as facilitate engagement of teaching staff for training, consultation and coaching purposes. Given the limited funding for each grantee direct access to the classroom ensures that all funds are allocated to implement the Good Behavior Game in the classroom. This evidence-based practice is designed to be implemented only by teachers and supported by the infrastructure of the local elementary school and LEA. The Good Behavior Game is a classroom management technique which once implemented must be maintained by the now trained classroom teacher. This is especially important given that LEAs applying for this grant are likely to be facing resource issues and need to use these funds immediately in the classroom to improve classroom management and promote academic success.

Award Information

Funding Mechanism: Cooperative Agreement
Anticipated Total Available Funding: $2 million
Anticipated Number of Awards: Up to 20 awards
Anticipated Award Amount: Up to $100,000 per year
Length of Project Period: Up to 5 years

Proposed budgets cannot exceed $100,000 in total costs (direct and indirect) in any year of the proposed project. Annual continuation awards will depend on the availability of funds, grantee progress in meeting project goals and objectives, timely submission of required data and reports, and compliance with all terms and conditions of award.

Contact Information

For questions about program issues contact:

Gail F. Ritchie, MSW
Public Health Analyst
Center for Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
1 Choke Cherry Road
Room 6-1007
Rockville, Maryland 20857
(240) 276-1867

For questions on grants management and budget issues contact:

Gwendolyn Simpson
Office of Program Services, Division of Grants Management
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
1 Choke Cherry Road
Room 7-1085
Rockville, Maryland 20857
(240) 276-1408

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Last updated: 05/18/2010