Department of
Health & Human Services
Department of
Department of

10:06 a.m. EDT, Sat., April 15, 2000
Contact: Melinda Malico, ED, (202) 401-1008
USDOJ Public Affairs, (202) 514-2008
HHS/SAMHSA Public Affairs, (301) 443-9848


In his weekly radio address, President Clinton today announced more than $41million in grants to 23 communities to make schools safer, to foster children's healthy development and to prevent aggressive and violent behavior and drug and alcohol use among the nation's youth.

The Safe Schools/ Healthy Students Initiative (SSHS) supports urban, rural, suburban and tribal school district efforts to link prevention activities and community-based services and to provide communitywide approaches to violence prevention and healthy child development.

This collaboration among the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) will help communities design and put into place comprehensive educational, mental health, social service, law enforcement and juvenile justice services for youth. The grants announced today fund 23 new three-year projects, adding to 54 Safe Schools/Healthy Students projects funded last year.

"We know from research that a comprehensive communitywide and schoolwide approach works best to promote healthy child development and reduce school violence and drug use," said U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. "The safety and well-being of our children can be enhanced through the work of partnerships that bring together schools, families and community organizations and offer a broad-based preventive approach to violence and drug use."

"Keeping children safe must be a communitywide effort," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "These new grants will help communities that have made a commitment not only to prevent violence, but also to provide services that will build on young people's strengths to help them lead productive lives."

"Children need to feel safe so they can learn and thrive," said HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala. "The Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative uses our best tools and knowledge to help keep children safe and healthy in their schools and in their neighborhoods."

The school-based community partnerships include rural projects such as one funded in Tyrone, Penn.; urban projects in San Antonio, Little Rock and other cities; and suburban projects such as one in Brevard County, Fla. School districts submitted comprehensive plans created in partnership with law enforcement officials, local mental health authorities, juvenile justice officials and community-based organizations. Plans were required to address six elements:

  • a safe school environment;
  • violence, alcohol and drug abuse prevention and early intervention programs;
  • school and community mental health preventive and treatment intervention services;
  • early childhood psychosocial and emotional development services;
  • educational reform; and,
  • safe school policies.
Research shows that preventing violence by building on children's strengths and promoting healthy development produces more positive results and is more cost-effective than the use of strictly punitive measures. Grantees are urged to intervene with children early and to use programs that have been proven effective -- such as life skills development, mentoring, conflict resolution, support for families, professional development for staff, truancy prevention, after-school activities, teen courts and alternative education.

Continuation grants for the initial 54 three-year projects funded in fiscal year 1999 will be awarded this summer with nearly $100 million from the three federal agencies. Projects must demonstrate substantial progress to receive continued funding.

Urban school districts were eligible for up to $3 million, suburban districts were eligible for up to $2 million and rural and tribal districts were eligible for up to $1 million. Applications judged for their strength, comprehensiveness, viability and potential for success were reviewed by an interdepartmental team that made recommendations to the cabinet departments.

In addition, President Clinton announced an upcoming U.S. Department of Education grant competition under the Elementary School Counseling Demonstration Program. The new program is designed to support school efforts to start or expand elementary school counseling programs. Applications for the funds will be available through the Federal Register and the Safe and Drug-Free Schools web site (www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SDFS) within the next week.

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