Definition of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):
An insult to the brain, not of degenerative or congenital nature caused by an external force that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness, which results in impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning. These impairments may be either temporary or permanent and may cause partial or total functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment.
From the Brain Injury Association of America, 1996.
More than 5.3 million Americans live with a disability as a result of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many of these individuals and their families are confronted with inadequate or unavailable services and supports that specifically address the health, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive issues created by traumatic brain injury (TBI). With the passage of the Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 1996 (PL 104-166), the Health Resources and Services Administration was mandated to award grants to States to plan and implement needed health and related service changes for individuals with traumatic brain injuries and their families.
The Department of Social Services, as the the lead agency for persons with disabilities, including persons with TBI, applied for and received a TBI State Planning Grant in 2002. Planning grants allow states to build infrastructure through the program’s four core components:
• Establishing a TBI Statewide Advisory Board
• Identifying a lead agency
• Conducting a Needs and Resources Assessment, and
• Developing a TBI State Action Plan
The Department of Social Services completed and submitted a TBI State Action Plan, followed by an application for an Implementation Grant in 2005. DSS was awarded a three year TBI State Implementation Grant. These grant-funded activities helped to:
• Create a coordinated/integrated system of programs and services for persons with TBI among State agencies;
• Provide staffing for the TBI Advisory Committee;
• Improve provider competence and services for persons with TBI;
• Increase the participation of unserved /underserved communities;
• Engage in ethnically and culturally inclusive outreach, public awareness and education throughout the State.