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Press Release

Bozeman School District Receives Over 3 Million In Federal Funds For Childhood Trauma And Mental Health Program

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

HELENA - The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today announced it has awarded nearly $63 million to school districts and research organizations across the country through the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI). Bozeman School District #7 received $3.3 million for its program called SAFE-TI, which involves individual mental assessments for students, who are then engaged in intervention programs tailored to their specific mental health needs. CSSI is a large-scale, multi-agency research effort to build knowledge about effective approaches to increasing school safety nationwide.

The Bozeman program will examine the impact of large, multi-tiered mental health- and trauma-informed interventions on a wide variety of mental health and school safety outcomes. The program tiers students based on their mental health needs, following individual assessments. Students will be randomly assigned at intake to either an immediate intervention group or a three-month waitlist control group. Interventions will be implemented across 11 schools in a largely rural area with a large population of Native America students. Researchers from the University of Montana will provide evidence of the effectiveness of these interventions on school safety.

Although NIJ has primary responsibility for CSSI, the program is a collaborative effort among more than 20 federal partners, including the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and the Treasury. This partnership will allow the federal government to make a significant impact on school safety by investing limited funds in research that has practical applications for every school in the nation. By determining what interventions work best for specific schools and students, CSSI will provide professionals with a body of knowledge to help them make decisions about which programs will be most effective - and most cost effective - for their particular schools and their challenges.

President Obama's January 2013 plan to end gun violence emphasized keeping guns out of potentially dangerous hands and recognized that additional actions are needed to make our schools safer. CSSI was launched in early 2014 in response to a Congressional request for a broad, research-based effort to increase safety in the nation's schools.

The initiative has three primary goals: to collect national-level data; to convene stakeholders to identify and share best practices; and to conduct innovative research and evaluate pilot projects in school districts. The programs and policies within CSSI are designed to produce evidence about what works in such areas of school safety as effectiveness of school resource officers and mental health professionals, violence and bullying reduction, and effectiveness of such restorative justice interventions as youth courts. The initiative will also examine potential unintended consequences of school safety efforts, including the excessive use of exclusionary discipline and arrests of students.

A list of the awards and more information about CSSI are available atError! Hyperlink reference not valid., keywords: "School Safety."

Updated January 14, 2015