Faith Based Initiative Activities
A range of activities have already been implemented in support of the Faith Initiative's goals and strategies.

Faithworks Council
On October 24, 2003 Governor Rowland signed Executive Order no. 31 establishing the Governor’s Faith Based Council, named FaithWork, CT. By this act the Governor has committed to an enhanced collaboration between government and faith based organizations for the provision of social services. The vision, defined in this faith based initiative, is of a substantial public-private partnership to render vital and cost-effective services to those Connecticut citizens in need of comprehensive social services. FaithWorks, CT serves as a resource to the faith community exploring opportunities for partnerships and assistance in capacity building. The membership of the Council is an equal number of representatives from state agencies and faith-based communities. DMHAS, through our Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner play an active role on the Council.

Faithworks Council Subcommittee
DMHAS participates in the FaithWorks Council Subcommittee, a group comprised of state agency faith initiative leaders. The Subcommittee was created in order to play an active role in the development and implementation of a coordinated action plan and to support the work of the FaithWorks Council. The FaithWorks Council is committed to the development and implementation of a comprehensive, effective plan of action to enhance the service delivery system available to our citizens in most need, through enhanced collaboration amongst the faith communities and state government. 

Ministry in Times of Crisis Conference Fall 02
The events of September 11, 2001 evoked significant responses from the faith community in an effort to promote healing and recovery. Recognizing the contributions of the faith community and the need to enhance our preparedness to respond to further disasters and crises, DMHAS, with funding provided by SAMHSA, organized a daylong conference focused on crisis ministry. The conference proved to be a catalyst for dialogue and partnership as we sought to develop statewide strategies for crisis services. The conference offered concrete skills helpful in ministering to those affected by crises and also helped to identify opportunities for greater collaboration between DMHAS and the faith community.  Over 200 individuals from the behavioral health and faith communities attended this conference. 

Faith-Based Crisis Response Network  
One of the results of the Ministry in Times of Crisis Conference was the recognition of the need to collaborate with the faith community in order to promote healing and recovery following disasters. As a result, DMHAS has developed a faith-based crisis network through funding the Department received from SAMHSA. Over 100 members from the faith community received intensive training from St. Francis Pastoral Care and have been linked to the DMHAS/DCF Behavioral Health Crisis Response Teams. Most recently members of the faith community participated in regional simulations. Future efforts will be targeted at continued training and recruitment for this network.

For more information regarding training opportunities, follow the link to: Saint Francis Care Clinical Pastoral Training.

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is working closely with the Substance Abuse and Mental health Service Administration (SAMHSA) to provide technical assistance to the faith community in order to enhance their capacities to become providers of social services. DMHAS and SAMHSA collaborated on a conference held on December 5, 2003 in which over 100 faith leaders attended to enhance their readiness to compete for contracts on the state and federal level. For more information, follow the link to: SAMHSA Faith-Based Community Initiatives. Other information relating to federal activities, as well as a copy of the White House document, Guidance to Faith-Based and Community Organizations on Partnering with the Federal Government, is available at: Office of Whitehouse Faith-Based Initiatives

Ministry in Times of Crisis Conference Fall 03
Due to the overwhelming response DMHAS received to the original conference and subsequent intensive crisis ministry trainings, DMHAS organized a follow-up conference held in November 03. Over 200 individuals attended this full day conference.  The conference again offered concrete skills helpful in ministering to those affected by crises and also identified additional opportunities for collaboration between DMHAS and the faith community. This conference focused more broadly on ministry and its importance in promoting recovery. 

Ministry in Times of Crisis Regional Roundtables
Ministry in Times of Crisis Regional Roundtables
, sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), are designed to encourage conversation among faith community leaders and behavioral health providers working with persons in recovery from a range of crises:  catastrophic events, personal trauma, and mental health and addictions disabilities.  To date 3 roundtables have been held throughout the state and a final roundtable will be held in Hartford on June 29, 2004 The roundtables grew out of the recent Ministry in Times of Crisis Conference and the expressed need for further dialogue between behavioral health providers and the faith community to explore questions, concerns, and ideas about the links between faith and recovery from crises and mental health and addictions problems.  Information gathered during the roundtables is being summarized in a report that will help to inform overall direction as well as our plans for another DMHAS-sponsored conference to be held later this year.

Access to Recovery Grant Application  
The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services recently submitted a proposal to be considered for a federal grant called Access to Recovery. This grant is designed to increase access for Connecticut adults with substance use problems to a comprehensive array of substance abuse treatment and recovery support options. These recovery support services would include transportation, childcare, housing, vocational support, and recovery support services such as mentoring. The program is a voucher program with state awards for clinical treatment and recovery supports of up to $15,000,000 per year for as many as three years. The Department is interested in partnering with the faith community to provide some of these recovery support services. A forum with the faith community was held in May 04 to inform them of this grant opportunity and to solicit feedback regarding the faith community’s role in providing services through this grant if funded. 

Pastoral Counseling Program
DMHAS as part of its strategy to build bridges to the faith community provides funding to St. Francis Care to support The Saint Francis Academy for Clinical Pastoral Training. The training program is designed to offer faith leaders the essential counseling skills necessary in their everyday ministry. The Pastoral Counseling Program includes consultants in medicine, behavioral health and ministry collaborating to offer a truly integrative model of studying and applying the heart of healing. Participants in these classes are exposed to important psychological theory and application. Each program reflects the spiritual dimension of healing found in everyday ministry. Classes are open to anyone whose work or ministry would benefit from pastoral counseling skills. For more information, follow the link to: Saint Francis Care Clinical Pastoral Training.

Faith-Based Data Directory
As part of our strategy to more effectively collaborate with the faith community, DMHAS has sought to develop a database of faith providers. This is being developed to:

  • Catalogue the spectrum of social service resources the faith community provides throughout the state

  • Identify potential community resources for individuals we serve

  • Identify faith leaders or organizations interested in contracting with the Department

  • Provide a vehicle for information dissemination regarding conferences, funding opportunities, and other items of interest to the faith community.

Contracts w/Faith-based organizations
DMHAS provides financial support to approximately twenty faith-based organizations throughout the State in the areas of prevention, treatment and recovery support. Collaboration with faith-based organizations contributes to a continuum of supportive services to address the unique needs of persons in Connecticut who have mental illness and/or substance use disorders.

Faith-Based Training Scholarships
In the past two years, the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) has begun to implement a recovery-oriented system of care. As part of the recovery initiative, DMHAS has recognized the powerful effect that faith may contribute toward an individual’s recovery. Scholarships for faith community members have been established for individuals to attend the New England Institute of Addiction Studies (NEIAS) through a collaborative effort between the Connecticut Ecumenical Council on Addiction and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.