Grant to initiate systemic changes for target populations at-risk of entering the criminal justice system with increasing public safety a primary goal
Central Florida Cares Health System, Inc. was recently awarded a Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Planning Grant for Brevard County. The one-year grant is funded through the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). The goal of the planning grant is to better understand and identify how those at-risk individuals with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders interact with different stages of the criminal justice system, determine gaps and strategic interventions. Ultimately the goal is to develop a strategic plan for diversion from jail/prison to community-based programs by increasing access to treatment services and increasing public safety. The targeted, at-risk population includes those who are homeless or in other unstable living situations, a history of victimization or abuse or a history of involvement with the criminal justice system.
As part of the grant, on October 2nd and 3rd, key stakeholders will gather to participate in a Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) lead by the University of South Florida Technical Assistance Center. Stakeholders will include representatives from court system, behavioral health provider agencies, law enforcement and counselors, among others. The SIM process is a strategic planning tool used to assess available resources, determine gaps in services and plan for community change. For more information, see here. The SIM meeting will take place at the Space Coast Health Foundation located at 1100 Rockledge Blvd, Rockledge, FL 32955.
At the end of the planning grant, Central Florida Cares and partners will seek funding to move learnings into action by applying for a Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Implementation grant, the next step towards initiating change. One such learning could potentially be an expansion of Mental Health courts. As Mark Van Bever, Court Administrator for the 18th Judicial Circuit, notes "Mental Health Courts perform an invaluable service to our communities by serving an important portion of our population in a respectful and effective manner. These courts transfer individuals with mental health illness from the criminal justice system into a treatment system, with the goal of reducing future offenses."
For additional information on the planning grant and/or SIM meeting, please contact Maria Bledsoe, Chief Executive Officer of Central Florida Cares Health System at (407) 985-3561.
Central Florida Cares Health System, Inc. (CFCHS) is a not-for-profit organization that manages state and federal funded mental health and substance abuse treatment services in Brevard, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. As a managing entity, we are a behavioral health administrative and management organization, and our primary focus is to promote a comprehensive, seamless system of recovery and resiliency to those in need of these services.