WJCS Awarded $2 Million SAMHSA Grant

Seth Diamond

WJCS (Westchester Jewish Community Services), the largest provider of outpatient licensed community-based mental health services in Westchester County, was awarded a $2 million federal grant to provide trauma services. The five-year grant was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and will allow the agency to expand services at the WJCS Trager Lemp Center for Treating Trauma & Promoting Resilience. The grant will allow the agency to deepen its focus on providing trauma services to young people, ages 8 to 21, and their families with a particular focus on Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ young people who have been impacted by COVID 19. The grant also allows for more support to be offered to those with intensive mental health needs resulting from multiple traumas.


“The loss of consistent schooling, the lack of social connection and economic and health uncertainty over the past two years of the pandemic has been devastating for our young people,” commented WJCS CEO Seth Diamond. “As a result, the rate of trauma among young people is higher than it has ever been. This grant will greatly assist efforts to help those struggling now and will contribute to our efforts to help our community heal. We thank SAMHSA for providing support for these critically needed services.”


“Trauma, if untreated, will negatively influence every aspect of the lives of our young people and those effects will ripple throughout our entire community,” said Liane Nelson, Ph.D., Director of the WJCS Trager Lemp Center and founding Co-chair of the Westchester County Task Force on Trauma. “By allowing us to dedicate more resources to communities of color most impacted by COVID, we can help young people recover and move forward.”


The award-winning Trager Lemp Center, founded in 1982, is Westchester’s only comprehensive, outpatient trauma treatment center. The project’s goals more specifically are to increase the capacity of WJCS to identify children experiencing trauma and to allow the agency to serve those identified in a trauma-informed way. Under the grant, the agency will use evidence-based practices for its trauma treatment and will closely monitor the outcomes of its services.


Founded in 1943, Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) serves 20,000 people of all ages and backgrounds in Westchester County annually. The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on Westchester County. Throughout the county, 220 children lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-19, between March and July 2020 alone. Black and Hispanic children lost a parent/caregiver at more than twice the rate of Caucasian children in New York State.

 Unemployment, food, and housing insecurity, loss of health insurance and childcare, and social isolation all skyrocketed, increasing the psychosocial distress, which has potentially long-lasting consequences for youth.


WJCS is one of the largest non-profit, non-sectarian human services agencies in Westchester, serving 20,000 people of all ages and backgrounds. WJCS is a trauma-informed agency. Its integrated network of services includes: mental health treatment and counseling, child and youth development programs, residential and non-residential programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, senior services, and educational, cultural, and spiritual programming for the Westchester Jewish community. 


For more information about WJCS, go to www.wjcs.com.