The resources and links below are intended to help generate ideas and guide planning for sustaining and expanding child trauma services at NCTSN centers. Other organizations may also find this information helpful.

Click here to view NCTSN information about Funding Opportunities.

Sustainability is a critical issue for programs that serve children and adolescents who have been traumatized. As in many other areas involving health and social services to children and families, grants are often time-limited and categorical funding streams are narrow. So program developers must constantly search for new funding that will enable them to continue or expand their initiatives. How can programs build a more stable base of support to sustain their initiatives over time?

Although long-term sustainability planning must include a focus on funding, sustaining an initiative over time also requires non-fiscal resources such as leadership from management and board members, technical expertise, strong management systems, and broad-based support from the community served by the initiative. The strategies that individual initiatives use to achieve sustainability over both the short and long term vary depending on social, political, economic and even geographic factors in their communities.

Information about specific Funding Opportunities is available on a separate page. Click here to view.

Page Contents:

A Sustainability Planning  Framework

The Finance Project, a nonprofit organization specializing in assisting efforts to produce and sustain good results for children, families and communities, has developed a sustainability planning framework. This framework is intended to help policymakers, program developers and managers, and other stakeholders at both the state and community level identify the basic resources needed and the strategic decisions necessary to sustain promising comprehensive community initiatives. Eight elements constitute the sustainability framework. These elements are critical for achieving a stable base of fiscal and non-fiscal resources that, in turn, can help lead to long-term sustainability. 

The eight elements are:
  • vision
  • results orientation
  • strategic financing orientation
  • adaptability to changing conditions
  • broad base of community support
  • key champions
  • strong internal systems
  • sustainability plan
The Finance Project developed Sustainability Workshops for the NCTSN All-Network Meetings----the NCTSN's annual meeting for grantees. To view the PowerPoint slides from these workshops, click here:


The Finance Project has produced a number of good publications, including a sustainability planning workbook. More information is available through their web site at


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Sustainability Resources

NCTSN Resources

Finding Funding: A Guide to Federal Sources for Child Traumatic Stress and Other Trauma-Focused Initiatives (2006)
This catalog and guide to federal funding was produced by the Finance Project for and under the direction of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. It catalogs 69 federal funding sources that could potentially support child trauma services.

Addendum to Finding Funding: A Guide to Federal Sources for Child Traumatic Stress and Other Trauma-Focused Initiatives (2008)
This addendum highlights additional funding sources within the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Justice that may support National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) programs and initiatives. This addendum provides NCTSN leaders with relevant information and considerations to access funding sources.

Beyond the Grant: Planning for Long-Term Sustainability (2010) (Video)
Staff of the Finance Project offer guidance to Network members and other nonprofits who serve children and families in this brief presentation.  They outline the eight key elements of sustainability that program directors need to know, and describe the planning and self-assessment tools and resources available on the NCTSN website.

A Guide to Private Funding to Support Child Traumatic Stress and Other Trauma-Focused Initiatives (2007) (PDF)
One important, though often overlooked, strategy for financing child traumatic stress initiatives includes accessing private funding. This guide provides practical information and guidance on how CTS initiative leaders can attract and access private funding to address their financing challenges and support the development, implementation and dissemination of trauma-informed interventions.

Keeping the Home Fires Burning: NCTSN Sustainability and Working with Your State Agencies (2008) (Video)
In this webinar, Network members discuss working with state agencies as an avenue for sustainability, integration of trauma-informed services, and transformation of care. Participants describe the steps they have taken, as well as the challenges and barriers they have faced in doing this work.

Program Sustainability: Keys to Success (2007) (Video)
Building a broad base of community support is one way to help promote an organization's sustainability.This webinar describes the methods two Network member sites have used to engage community stakeholders, and provides an overview of the Finance Project's sustainability planning framework.

Thinking Broadly: Financing Strategies for Child Traumatic Stress Initiatives (2006) (PDF)
This report was produced by the Finance Project for and under the direction of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. It describes five broad financing strategies and profiles successful approaches implemented across the country.

Other Resources
Synergy for Sustainability: A Technical Assistance Resource, was developed by the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health at Georgetown University for the benefit of SAMHSA Youth Violence Prevention Program grantees.

Several Monographs on Promising Practices in Children's Mental Health are available from the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice. Using Evaluation Data to Manage, Improve, Market, and Sustain Children's Services (PDF) and For the Long Haul: Maintaining Systems of Care Beyond the Federal Investment (PDF) are both part of a 2000 monograph series developed with support from the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program.

For publications on financing early childhood mental health services, including analyses of major funding sources and financing strategies, search the Publications Index of the National Center for Children in Poverty.

In August 2002, the U.S. Government Accounting Office released a report to Congress called Mental Health Services: Effectiveness of Insurance Coverage and Federal Programs for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma Largely Unknown (PDF). This report provides a general overview and analysis of funding streams and federal programs that are available to serve traumatized children. Appendix VI of this report (page 79) includes "Selected Federal Grant Programs That May Be Used to Help Children Exposed to Trauma Obtain Mental Health Services." Appendix VII (page 94) describes State Crime Victim Compensation Benefits available as of May 2002.


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Assistance with Grant Writing

The Grantsmanship Center
The Grantsmanship Center offers training programs as well as a number of publications on proposal and grant writing.

Click here to view information about Funding Opportunities


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