HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the State of Connecticut is receiving a $750,000 federal grant to provide mental health support to children and their families who were evacuated from their homes and are living in Connecticut as a result of Hurricane Maria.
The funding, which was granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be used by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), to provide these services at child guidance clinics serving the most heavily affected cities in the state – Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury, and New Britain – that include mobile crisis, outpatient counseling, medication management, and school outreach.
“Thousands and thousands of young children had their homes destroyed by a catastrophic storm that left them displaced and uprooted from the only place that they have ever known,” Governor Malloy said. “Today, many of these families are living thousands of miles away in Connecticut and rebuilding their lives. A tragedy of this proportion is incredibly traumatic for children and can have a lasting impact, which is why it is critical for them to receive these services now so they can lead healthy, productive lives. We are appreciative of the many organizations in our state that are participating with our efforts to ensure these services are available in the wake of this horrible storm.”
“This funding is long overdue for the evacuees who have come to Connecticut, and something we’ve all been advocating for,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Chris Murphy, and Congressman John Larson said in a joint statement. “We’re proud of the work that the state and local organizations and volunteers have done to help these families. This money will ensure that the mental health needs of the people who evacuated to Connecticut are being met. While this aid is welcome, far more is needed for states like Connecticut who have opened their arms to evacuees, and for the island that is still struggling a year later without reliable public infrastructure and jobs.”
“Many of the children and families who were evacuated to Connecticut after Hurricane Maria experienced severe trauma, enduring the powerful storm itself, the devastation of losing their homes and then having to acculturate to a new community,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “We know that addressing trauma early leads to improved mental health outcomes, so providing this support is critical in ensuring families will thrive.”
DCF Commissioner Joette Katz explained that the services will be provided by child guidance clinics that already provide a range of effective services for Connecticut children and their families, including those who were affected by Hurricane Maria over one year ago.
“By expanding support for and enhancing our partnership with our existing community-based service provider network, we will be able to extend help to many more deserving children and families,” Commissioner Katz said.
The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College estimates that 135,000 people evacuated Puerto Rico to the mainland United States in the first six months since the hurricane made landfall, and approximately 10 percent of them relocated to Connecticut.
Immediately following the storm last year, Governor Malloy created a unified command to help coordinate assistance for hurricane survivors arriving in Connecticut. Since that time, the state has provided disaster case management services, housing assistance, and support to schools that were impacted.
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