In last month's newsletter, we shared a brief overview of California's Prop 47 and its aims to get low-level offenders out of prisons and jails -- and into more effective community supports, including appropriate mental health and substance abuse programs.
In January, we shared an overview of our forensic ACT program in San Bernardino, CA. This program provides high-intensity services to people with very complex needs including medical complications. FACT members often need wraparound supports long-after they finish probation.
However, because each county has specific local needs, this month, we are sharing an overview of a mental health court program we operate in collaboration with Orange County Health Care Agency, the probation department, and the court. It's another option for meeting the local community's needs.
Mental health court programs combine the skills and resources of many agencies including the courts, probation, mental health, addiction services, healthcare providers and more. They help individuals with mental illness and justice involvement get better, gain skills, and stop cycling through jails and hospitals.
Telecare's program, called “Whatever It Takes” (WIT), focuses specifically on getting people out of jails and helping them gain stability in the community.
- Members are evaluated during their time spent in jail and are conditionally released into WIT.
- Members must remain sober to graduate from the program.
- Members gain skills and stability by moving through 4-phases embedded within the program.
- Members must also participate in regular court appearances, frequent drug and alcohol testing, meetings with the collaborative court team, and engage with specialized services as needed. WIT is there to support them throughout this process.
It’s not always easy to provide mental health services within the confines of a judicial system when swift action is often necessary to stay in accordance with the law. Mental health courts were designed to be a more compassionate way to treat justice-involved clients.
Susan Hull, administrator of WIT, shares some lessons learned on how mental health programs can work more effectively with probation officers and how they can keep staff engaged and resilient when serving this population.
Our "WIT in Action" story shares the personal long-term impact of this program on one of the earliest members.
Finally, Telecare recently completed our yearly annual report and yearly video. We would love to hear your feedback on these materials or ideas on how we can improve! Please send your comments and let us know.
All the best,
Faith Richie, SVP of Development, Telecare Corporation