Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI)
SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT, MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, RECOVERY
AND SPIRITUALITY: PARTNERSHIPS THAT WORK
The beneficial role that faith and spirituality play in the prevention of drug
and alcohol abuse and in programs designed to treat and promote recovery from
substance abuse and mental disorders has long been acknowledged. The work of
the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an
agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), serves as a
model of how effective partnerships can be forged between Federal programs and
faith- based and community organizations to benefit people with or at risk for
mental and substance abuse disorders. Only through such partnerships designed
to build resilience and facilitate recovery can SAMHSA achieve its vision of a
life in the community for everyone.
The Role of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Since its inception in 1992, SAMHSA actively has engaged and supported
faith-based and community organizations involved in substance abuse and mental
health services. For example, the Community Substance Abuse Prevention
Partnership Program alone included over 800 faith-based community partners
among its grantees. SAMHSA's Block and Formula Grant program funds - made
available to States - in turn are available through the States to countless
faith-based organizations that engage people with or at risk for mental and
addictive disorders. SAMHSA-supported training programs and curricula not only
support substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment, and mental health
services education for multi-denominational leaders of the faith community, but
also help create integrated, sustainable collaborations at the local level
In 2000, SAMHSA became the first HHS agency to undertake a specific Faith-Based
and Community Initiative. The initiative emphasizes the key role Faith-Based
and Community organizations play in the delivery of substance abuse prevention,
addiction treatment, and mental health services, particularly to underserved
communities and to culturally diverse populations. Today, SAMHSA's Faith-Based
and Community Initiatives Workgroup also coordinates the Agency's work in
support of the President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative, including the
identification and elimination of barriers to these groups' participation in
SAMHSA funding opportunities.
SAMHSA's long experience with faith-based and community organizations to support
resilience and recovery in substance abuse prevention and treatment, and mental
health services has demonstrated the effectiveness of local, grass-roots
programs in eliciting positive changes in people's lives, paving the way for
individuals to become full partners in American society.
Building on Success
Promoting Partnerships and Best Practices: Through a variety of
funding mechanisms SAMHSA supports programs in mental health services,
substance abuse prevention and addiction treatment that are undertaken
withcommunity and faith-based organizations at the national, state, and local
Youth Violence Prevention - SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services
(CMHS) School and Community Action Grants/Youth Violence Prevention Cooperative
Agreements grant programs promote community-wide efforts to prevent youth
violence and substance abuse and to promote healthy youth development. A number
of faith-based organizations, including Catholic Charities and the Pittsburgh
Leadership Foundation, are recipients of these funds. A key component of this
program is the promotion of community coalitions and partnerships to address
youth violence and encourage positive youth development. Representatives of the
faith community are integral members of these coalitions in a significant
number of the grantee programs.
Increasing Access to Substance Abuse Treatment and HIV/AIDS Services - Through
the Targeted Capacity Expansion HIV/AIDS program, SAMHSA's Center for Substance
Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is working to increase the availability of substance
abuse treatment and HIV/AIDS-related services in African American,
Hispanic/Latino and other racial or ethnic minority communities affected by the
twin epidemics of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. Many faith-based organizations
are grantees, such as AIDS Interfaith Network, Inc. of New Haven, CT, and Metro
Interdenominational Church of Nashville, TN.
SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) also has provided funding
to faith-based and community organizations to address the problem of HIV/AIDS
in minority communities, primarily to help build capacity in minority
communities for sustained effective efforts to combat substance abuse use and
HIV/AIDS. In addition, CSAP has provided funding to support the work of the
Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES) Village Builder's
Project. a faith-based coalition of forty Detroit, MI, congregations providing
culturally-appropriate substance abuse prevention services to families and
Reducing Homelessness - The Projects for Assistance in Transition from
Homelessness(PATH) provides funds from SAMHSA's CMHS to States and Territories
that, in turn, allocate these dollars to local agencies, for services to
persons with serious mental illnesses including those with co-occurring
substance abuse disorders who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Many of the organizations that receive PATH funds are faith-based. The PATH
program is unique since all locally funded agencies must coordinate their
services with faith-based and community organizations serving homeless people
with serious mental illnesses.
Crisis Counseling - The faith community played an important role in
responding to the tragedy of September 11, 2001. In the past, faith
organizations have participated in SAMHSA disaster response programs, among
them, Catholic Charities during the Oklahoma bombing; Lutheran Social Services
in tornado-related disasters; and the Virgin Islands Baptist Church in
responding to hurricanes and other disasters.
Trainings/conferences: SAMHSA continues to host numerous
conferences and training programs that help faith-based and community
organizations enhance their work in substance abuse prevention, mental health
services, and addiction treatment.
In September 2002, SAMHSA began its Grassroots Training Initiative, a
series of over 40 training and technical assistance meetings to provide
training in grant writing and capacity building and introduce SAMHSA and its
policy and program priorities to grassroots organizations throughout the
In August 2002, SAMHSA held its Sixth Annual Symposium for Faith and
Community-Based Organizations, which focused on strengthening
collaborations, expanding local resources, and building capacity to provide
substance abuse prevention, treatment, and mental health services, as well as
program management and successful grant writing. This SAMHSA-wide Symposium
grew out of a 2001 substance abuse prevention-oriented national interfaith
meeting sponsored by SAMHSA's CSAP that drew over 150 members of faith and
community organizations and exploredpromising practices and model substance
abuse prevention programs, highlighted the experience of faith organizations
involved in prevention, and provided training on the SAMHSA grant application
Since1998, CSAT has hosted numerous conferences linked to faith-based efforts.
A 1998 CSAT National Faith Initiative Conference was held to establish
links between substance abuse treatment programs, the National Association of
Chaplains, and the One-Church, One Addict (OCOA) organization, followed by a
series of four conferences and technical assistance workshops in 2000 that also
involved the Johnson Institute Foundation and the National Congress of Black
Churches. In 2001, both national and regional focus groups worked to identify
and propose ways to eliminate barriers to grassroots organizations successfully
competing for SAMHSA funds. Several training and technical assistance
conferences on grant writing and best practices were convened; supplemental
grants were made to 24 Targeted Capacity Expansion (TCE) grantees to
collaborate with faith-based organizations for the provision of ancillary
services. In 2002, CSAT continues its technical assistance efforts, hosting
sessions on promising practices, capacity building, grant writing and
evaluation that support and extend the broader SAMHSA training initiatives.
Substance Abuse Resource Guide: "Faith Communities" - This guide serves a
starting point for parents, teachers, researchers, and program directors
seeking a review of information available on substance abuse prevention and
treatment and the role of faith-based organizations. It contains information on
booklets, brochures, fact sheets, reports, magazines, newsletters, videos,
posters, studies, articles, organizations and Internet sites available.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Abuse Challenges and Responses for Faith Leaders
-This instructional tool on substance abuse treatment for clergy and
lay persons was designed with two goals in mind. The first is to educate clergy
about the nature and extent of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse; the process of
becoming addicted; and current approaches to preventing, intervening with and
treating substance abuse. The second is to encourage clergy to take an active
rolein confronting substance abuse by sharing the experiences of other faith
communities that have already done so.
Toward the Future
SAMHSA is committed to a policy of respect for and cooperation with faith-based
and community organizations. It will continue its work to -
Continue training for smaller grassroots and faith-based organizations.
Convene meetings with faith leaders to address issues involved in funding
substance abuse treatment grants to the faith community.
Establish and maintain a planning group to build strategic alliances with
faith-based and community groups.
Develop a curriculum for seminary students in counseling parents and children
of alcoholics, in collaboration with the Johnson Institute Foundation and the
National Association of Children of Alcoholics.
Host dialogues between a small group of congregations and families around
issues of mental health, support and recovery.
Develop regulations responsive to States, local governments, and religious and
provider organizations that will be implementing SAMHSA's Charitable Choice
Information about grant opportunities is and will continue to be made available
on the SAMHSA website at www.samhsa.gov. Click on "Grant Opportunities." Visit regularly for updates. Interested
parties also can call SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse on Alcohol and Drug
Information (NCADI) at 1/800-729-6686 (1/800-487-4889 TDD) for substance abuse
grant applications, or SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center for
mental health grant applications, at 1/800-789-2647 (or 1/800-443-9006 TTY).