CCJBH July 2021 Newsletter

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Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health

CCJBH July 2021 Newsletter

CCJBH 2021 Project Updates

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Mental Health Diversion Contract Awarded

CCJBH recently awarded a Mental Health Diversion: Consultation, Technical Assistance & Policy Recommendations contract to the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center.  Under this contract, CSG will provide subject matter expert specialty consultation and technical assistance to a minimum of 20 counties to enhance, sustain and/or expand local capacity to successfully implement mental health diversion. Project activities will include identifying and interviewing partners to develop a scope and focus for the training and technical assistance activities, participating in and facilitating a portion of 12 collaboration meetings to assess what is working (or not) within local diversion systems, and examining the impact of COVID-19 on diversion, all of which will be compiled into a final report reflecting a proposed set of policy recommendations that identify the next steps to support expanded mental health diversion best practices statewide. The contract term is June 21, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

Senate Bill (SB) 369 Veto Message Project Update

The Governor’s veto message for SB 369 (2020) requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH) to “engage with stakeholders, evaluate the barriers of reentry, and determine what steps need to be taken to overcome those barriers.” A draft report is being developed based on research and input captured from stakeholder focus groups and public meetings. CCJBH will notify stakeholders when the draft report is posted for public comment (anticipated in early to mid-August). In the meantime, the most recently posted list of identified barriers and strategies to address the identified barriers is available on the CCJBH website.

Regional Lived Experience Project Update

Through a competitive process, CCJBH awarded three-year contracts to support local community based organizations, each of which are implementing unique projects that include individuals with lived experience to help reduce justice involvement of individuals with behavioral health needs. The contractors include Cal Voices, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, the Transitions Clinic Network, and the LA Regional Reentry Partners. In the first year, these contractors engaged in a variety of projects focused on increasing the advocacy capacity of those with lived experience, education and training opportunities, organizational and community awareness, as well as improving collaborative efforts with partners. In the next two years, they will expand efforts to promote the expertise of individuals with lived experience to inform local policy and educate decision-makers. Contractor activities include facilitation of training, convening stakeholder meetings and events, developing educational materials, and advocating for policies that support individuals with lived experience. CCJBH anticipates highlighting the Lived Experience Projects at the December 2021 Full Council meeting.

California State University, Sacrament (CSUS) Lived Experience Projects

In 2019, CCJBH contracted with the California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) to determine how best to engage statewide public outreach efforts surrounding individuals with lived experience. Outreach efforts focused on identifying issues and potential efforts that are needed to support individuals with lived experiences, their families, and networks. Recently, CSUS completed a policy brief to identify hiring barriers for individuals with lived experience. The policy brief, which will soon be posted on CCJBH’s website, summarizes findings from an online survey and interviews with pertinent staff from community-based organizations, state agencies, county behavioral health departments, and federally qualified health centers. As a next step, CSUS staff will be facilitating a follow-up workshop to identify solutions and recommendations for hiring individuals with lived experience, which is tentatively scheduled for September 13, 2021.

Forensic Peer Support Specialists

As reflected in CCJBH’s 2020 Annual Legislative Report recommendations, CCJBH believes that the use of Forensic Peer Support (FPS) Specialists can be of significant benefit to individuals who are justice-involved and have a mental health and/or substance use disorder. Given the Council’s recommendation, in January 2021, CCJBH embarked on a project to research established and best practices for FPS Specialists to learn more about this profession, including relevant certification standards, and to evaluate how this specialty could be implemented in California. Through their lived experience and specialized training, which goes beyond that of a traditional “peer” provider, a FPS Specialist is able to gain the trust and respect from those they serve, which makes them an important asset to the safety net workforce as they are able to help prepare individuals for reentry into their community after a period of incarceration, assist with activities of daily living, as well as help with navigation through, and engagement in, complex State and local public service delivery systems. Equally important, through mentorship, FPS Specialists can also provide a critical role in the journey of recovery. Thus far, CCJBH has conducted a review of publicly available resources on FPS models nationwide, core competencies, and specific qualifications for the FSP specialty. The findings and recommendations are currently being formulated into a report which, once drafted, CCJBH will circulate for Councilmember and public stakeholder input before finalizing.

Public Health Meets Public Safety

Public Health Meets Public Safety is a two year project being conducted in consultation with the CSG Justice Center. The project aims to reduce the number of adults and young people with behavioral health needs in California’s justice system by marshalling data to inform policy decisions. Building on existing state and local data integration efforts, CSG will develop resources that support state, local, and community leaders in this shared goal. As part of their deliverables, CSG has identified State-level public data that has been inventoried into different categories that have been integrated into a dashboard that can be accessed on the CCJBH website. Similarly, CSG has produced a report for CCJBH advising on data considerations and recommendations for data linkage. Upcoming activities for this project include the development of data dashboards that leverage the data inventory and data linkage recommendations, as well as the development of fact sheets. More information will be dispersed via our listserv as it becomes available.

CCJBH Workgroup Updates

CCJBH holds bi-monthly Juvenile Justice and Diversion/Reentry workgroup meetings to collaborate with stakeholders on relevant priority issues, with the goal of developing recommendations for CCBH’s annual legislative report. The June 2021 Juvenile Justice Workgroup focused on the impact of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on the behavioral health of children and youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and the June 2021  Diversion/Reentry Workgroup included a presentation on the Department of State Hospital’s Pre-Trial Felony Mental Health Diversion Program and Virtual Hospital. Dates for future workgroup meetings are listed below.

Juvenile Justice Evidence-Based Practices Toolkit and Compendium

CCJBH is in the process of producing a Juvenile Justice Toolkit and Compendium Request for Proposal (RFP) that will focus on assisting counties as they implement activities related to Senate Bill 823 (2020) juvenile justice realignment. The purpose of the toolkit will be to provide a compilation of information related to best practices and evidence-based programs that have been shown to be effective in serving justice-involved youth who have behavioral health needs. The compendium/toolkit will serve as a key resource for county probation, child welfare, and behavioral health departments. It will help to support counties to strengthen and sustain cross-system partnerships, utilize a multi-tier system of support, identify funding streams, and leverage existing data to track progress, treatment and program outcomes. CCJBH will continue to update stakeholders on the progression of the RFP as more information becomes available.

Announcements, Resources, Articles, and Studies

Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget

CCJBH is working on a detailed budget summary for Fiscal Year 2021-22 that highlights the funding allocation for the justice-involved population who have behavioral health needs. The summary will be posted on our website and distributed via our listserv when it is complete. In the meantime, the full enacted budget can may be accessed on the California Budget website.


DHCS continues to move forward with the California Advancing & Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative. Key components of the CalAIM proposal applicable to those who are involved with the justice system include enhanced care management services, use of peer support specialists, limited Medi-Cal services 90 days prior to release from jail/prison, in lieu of services, as well as mandatory pre-release Medi-Cal enrollment and facilitated referral to community-based behavioral health services for individuals released from jails, prisons, and youth correctional facilities. On June 30, 2021, DHCS submitted the CalAIM Section 1115 demonstration and CalAIM Section 1915(b) waiver to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for review and approval. Stakeholders may comment on the CalAIM
Section 1115 demonstration during the 30-day federal public comment period, which is
July 16, 2021, through August 15, 2021. More information about the federal public comment is available on the CMS website. There is no federal public comment period required for the CalAIM Section 1915(b) waiver.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Spending Plan

On July 12, 2021, DHCS formally submitted the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Spending Plan to CMS for review and approval. This plan proposes to expand services for California’s most vulnerable and at-risk residents through both new and existing programs that will strengthen HCBS that are currently funded through Medi-Cal. HCBS are types of person-centered care delivered in the home and community that address the needs of people with functional limitations, including individuals with a serious behavioral health condition. These programs and services further help implement California’s values of inclusion, access, and equity by helping to lower rates of justice involvement, uplifting homeless and formerly-incarcerated Californians to build resiliency, empower them to thrive in homes, and live successfully in their community. These efforts include a wide range of services that will benefit the justice-involved populations, building off of the Returning Home Well Initiative (e.g., multifunction reentry hubs that offer housing support, social services, and economic stimulus payments) and focusing on prevention services. Of note are pilot programs geared towards connecting individuals with services as means to prevent future costly institutions care (e.g. emergency room navigators, contingency management). These investments will also build on the proposals in the California Comeback Plan (see below).

California Comeback Plan

The California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency developed a “California Comeback Plan” that envisions a 21st century public health system that advances and innovates the Medi-Cal system, supports vulnerable and homeless families by providing care for the most marginalized populations, builds an age-friendly state for older individuals, and transforms the behavioral health system for children and youth. Many of the programs involved in the California Comeback Plan will positively impact the justice-involved populations through intervention or the provision of prevention services. For example, as part of this plan, the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative Proposal has the goal to “transform California’s children and youth behavioral health system into a world-class, innovative, up-stream focused, ecosystem where ALL children and young adults are routinely screened, supported, and serviced for emerging behavioral health needs.” The proposal details a multiyear initiative to help accomplish their goal and includes funding in the California budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22 and ongoing.

Parole Supervision Week

Governor Newsom formally recognized Parole Supervision Week, which occurred from July 18th through 24th, noting the “integral role Parole plays in improving public safety and promoting successful reintegration back into community.” For more information, please visit the CDCR Division of Adult Parole Operations website.

Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month/BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month

In 2008, the U.S House of Representatives designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, also referred to as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Awareness Month, to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face in regard to seeking, accessing and engaging in mental health treatment in the United States. CCJBH seeks to target systemic barriers that perpetuate disparities by identifying and prioritizing policies and practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about Bebe Moore Campbell / BIPOC National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, including scheduled resources and events, please visit the NAMI California, Mental Health America, and PEERS websites. 

Behavioral Health Action Coalition Report

Behavioral Health Action is a coalition of over 50 organizations including hospitals, health care providers, the criminal justice system, labor, local government, not-for-profit organizations, and businesses collaborating with a common mission to elevate, educate, and innovate in California’s behavioral health systems. Their recent report, Answering the Call to Action: Prepared by A Vision for All Californians’ Behavioral Health, outlines a vision for behavioral health care, guiding principles to ensure the vision best serves those in need, and a description of a recommended standard of community-based behavioral health care that should be available to all Californians. More information about the BHA Coalition may be found on their website.

2021 CCJBH Meeting Dates

CCJBH Council Meetings

The Council is tasked with several statutory goals including:

  • Investigating, identifying, and promoting cost-effective strategies that prevent adults and juveniles with behavioral health needs from becoming incarcerated;
  • Identifying incentives for state and local justice and health programs to adopt such approaches;
  • Reporting activities to the Legislature; and
  • Providing recommendations for improving the cost-effectiveness of existing behavioral health and criminal justice programs.

The Council meetings for Calendar Year 2021 are listed below:

Full Council Meetings

July 30 (Friday) 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
October 29 (Friday)2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
December 10 (Friday)2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Juvenile Justice Workgroup

September 10 (Friday)1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
November 12 (Friday)1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

 Diversion/Reentry Workgroup

September 17 (Friday)1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
November 19 (Friday)1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Legislative Updates

CCJBH tracks legislation of interest to our mission to promote early intervention, access to effective treatments, a planned re-entry and the preservation of public safety. For a complete list of the legislation tracked by CCJBH this year, please visit our website.

Upcoming Events

Master Calendar

The Forensic Mental Health Association of California (FMHAC) has created a collaborative calendar for organizations with similar interests to post their upcoming events. The calendar can be accessed at Industry Calendar – FMHAC.

When:   July 28, 2021 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (90 minutes)

Description:   California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will host a webinar highlighting state data and provide a detailed look at how suicide and self-harm have been experienced differently by age, race/ethnicity and/or sex. This webinar will also highlight results from a study about experiences of violence in the past year among Californians, including impacts of COVID-19 on violence, economic hardship, and health (including suicidality and gun purchases). Presenters will also provide information on evidence-based suicide prevention strategies and current CDPH violence prevention programs.

Who Should Attend:   Individuals seeking to learn about current suicide and violence trends in California and prevention programs available through CDPH.

Reducing Homelessness for People with Behavioral Health Needs Leaving Jails and Prisons Report Launch

When:   August 18, 2021 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM (90 minutes)

Description:   CCJBH and the CSG Justice Center will host a virtual event to celebrate the public launch of their report, Reducing Homelessness for People with Behavioral Health Needs Leaving Jails and Prisons. This event will provide an overview on key findings and recommendations to increase housing opportunities and include presentations from key state leaders and local partners about why this population must be prioritized with new housing investments. Personal stories will be shared about the life-changing value of housing. We anticipate diverse participation and insightful dialogue fostering cross sector collaboration.

Who Should Attend:   Individuals seeking to learn about the current homeless landscape and housing funding opportunities available for justice-involved individuals who have behavioral health needs.

Register here.

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