NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Announces New FACT Teams—CASES Staff Share Expertise on the FACT Approach

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recently announced that four new Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) teams will begin operation in New York City by April 2016.

The new FACT teams will serve individuals who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. have a severe and persistent mental illness that seriously impairs their functioning in the community;
  2. have continuous high service needs not being met in more traditional service settings; and
  3. have current or recent involvement with the criminal justice system.

A concept paper announcing the new FACT teams states “these new teams will increase access to care for this high need population and ensure that eligible persons are receiving specialized services to reduce violence risk and to reduce recurring involvement with the criminal justice system.”

The FACT approach is based on the evidence-based ACT (assertive community treatment) model. CASES has long experience providing ACT services for forensic populations. These services are provided by a multi-disciplinary team of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, peers, and specialists in substance abuse, employment, and housing who together serve participants in the community settings in which they make their lives.

CASES’ Nathaniel ACT program, established in 2003, provides ACT services as an alternative to incarceration for men and women facing felony convictions and prison and who meet the above eligibility requirements. Our Nathaniel ACT program has proven effective in supervising a high-need, high-risk justice-involved population in the community. Participant achievements include a 70% reduction in multiple hospitalizations and 61% reduction in homelessness. Among program graduates, 93% have avoided any new criminal rearrest within two years of completing CASES services.

Last year, CASES Co-Directors of Adult Behavioral Health Programs spoke with Policy Research Associates, a research organization that has worked closely with the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about implementing FACT services. To read this interview and learn more about CASES and FACT, please visit: