New Funding Priorities Strengthen Partners Serving Kids’ Mental Health

In 2022, the Board of Directors for the Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County was not only looking at how to get voter approval for permanent and increased funding, they were looking ahead to what could be possible if the measure was approved. How would they prioritize investing nearly $30 million each year into services that improve child mental health across the county? That’s when the board and the full CSF team developed the three Cs of funding: core, capacity, and collaboration. “We wanted to focus on the things that will be most impactful for local kids,” says CEO Rob Whitten

Core Funding

Core funding in 10 service areas is how the CSF makes the largest investments into the mental health and emotional well-being of Jackson County kids. It’s the primary means of supporting children. The Fund reviews applications and allocates support to partner organizations for a specified enrollment period. The 10 service areas are:

Crisis Intervention

In response to acute mental health crises, these services focus on rapidly restoring a child’s baseline functioning.

Home & Community Based Intervention

These important services allow children and youth to access behavioral health interventions in their homes and communities.

Individual, Group, & Family Counseling

Supportive services promote the wellbeing of children and families with psychological evaluations, mental health screenings, and therapy.

Outpatient Psychiatric Treatment

Children receive comprehensive mental health care services from evaluation and diagnosis to treatment and medication management.

Outpatient Substance Use Treatment

Youth and families receive therapeutic services including assessments, early intervention, education, counseling, therapy and aftercare.


Kids develop coping skills, strengthen relationships, and increase community engagement to decrease their risk of substance use and mental health issues.

Respite Care

Families with kids get access to temporary emergency shelter during crises or periods of stress in order to safely preserve the family unit.

Services to Teen Parents

Young parents develop positive parenting skills, receive counseling and behavioral health, and get resources and referrals for more support.

Temporary Shelter

Youth and kids experiencing abuse, neglect, homelessness, or other housing barriers can live in a safe, stable environment for up to 30 days.

Transitional Living

Counseling and supportive services are an integral part of programs that help youth transition from homelessness to safe living arrangements.

Capacity Funding

“We asked ourselves how else CSF funding could be meaningful,” says Whitten. “For smaller nonprofits, in particular, it can be challenging to invest in ways that help them grow. After programming and staffing, there’s typically not enough money left to devote to what can make them better and stronger.”

These one-time funding opportunities help raise the tide for all CSF-funded partners. They could:

  • Support special projects
  • Build intellectual capacity through professional training
  • Train staff in the newest interventions and technology
  • Allow for strategic planning
  • Cover accreditation and certification costs

To date, the CSF has only been able to offer small increments in this category, but additional annual revenue will allow funding to scale significantly — to as much as $3 million annually.

“It’s an opportunity to help our partners get better at what they do,” says Whitten, “so their services are as effective as possible.”

Collaboration Funding

As the saying goes, “We’re better together.” Funding for collaboration among community stakeholders can drive large-scale impact — much bigger than individual organizations working on their own.

“A lot of organizations have interest in collaboration,” says Whitten, “but they’re also in an environment that fosters competition — for referrals, donors, and grant dollars. Our hope is that this funding will make it easier for organizations to increase their impact by working together.”

This funding could include investing in meaningful collaboration among several partners, launching long-term pilot projects, or supporting overarching community initiatives. 

It’s been happening organically, where three or four partners each contribute their unique services and programs to create something that’s bigger than the sum of its parts. “It’s an exciting opportunity,” says Whitten. “We can envision big collaborations that build a new way to deliver services, and smaller collaborations that grow over time and evolve to make impacts at the community level, and even at the system level.”

The CSF believes it’s important to not only invest in services for children, but to also invest in the organizations that provide those services. That’s why the three Cs of funding are so important. They’ll make it possible for Jackson County organizations to innovate, grow, and collaborate in ways that invest in children and strengthen the community.

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