News Releases and Media Advisories

KDADS Awarded $4.5 Million Federal Grant for Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) Initiative

For Immediate Release        

November 29, 2016

For more information contact:
Angela de Rocha
Director of Communications
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services

TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Aging and Disabilities Services (KDADS) Acting Secretary Tim Keck announced today that the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded the agency a four-year, $4.5 million System of Care grant.

“The purpose of this grant is to improve behavioral health outcomes for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances (SED) from birth to age 21 years, and to support their families,” Secretary Keck said. “It will allow us to better serve some of our most vulnerable young Kansans.”

KDADS will collaborate with four community mental health centers in Kansas and with the Center for Behavioral Health Initiatives (CBHI) at Wichita State University’s Community Engagement Institute to meet these goals. The four mental health centers involved in this initiative are Compass Behavioral Health, Wyandot Center, Sumner Mental Health and South Central Mental Health. They will, in turn, partner with local and regional organizations, families and youth to address the needs of severely emotionally disturbed children and youth.

John Hostetler, Director of Mental Health at KDADS, said, “This partnership will allow Kansas communities to improve the lives of SED children and youth through integration of strengths-based, family-centered and culturally competent care that is driven by the families themselves.”

According to a 2014 SAMHSA report, as many as 21,000 adolescents in Kansas faced serious depression during that year, 58 percent of whom received no treatment. That same year, 89 percent of youth struggling with substance use issues did not receive treatment.

CBHI will offer technical support, logistics and training for all SOC grant partners through on-site assistance and via learning collaboratives both in person and online. According to Randy Johnson, director of CBHI, “This work is about more than improving just mental health services. Our partners, including the kids and parents who benefit, will be creating new solutions that make sense in their communities and operate across all the systems involved in helping children with emotional or behavioral challenges.”

"I see this as a real opportunity to expand our services and collaborate with the Community Engagement Institute, KDADS and other CMHCs, as well as youth and family leadership across the state," said Randy Callstrom, President and CEO of Wyandot Inc. in Kansas City.

Kansas System of Care partners are actively seeking to contact children, youth and families who have been affected by SED for participation in this initiative. Please contact Brittney Schaeffer by phone at 316-978-5350 or email at for more information on how to get involved.