One of CASES’ core values is a commitment—through continuous innovation and the strategic disruption of ineffective responses to crime, addiction, and mental illness—to creating solutions for some of New York City’s most difficult public safety and public health challenges. In addition to our programs providing direct services, this commitment guides our engagement in system improvement activities and provision of technical assistance locally as well as on the statewide and national levels.
The New York County Behavioral Health Diversion Forum
In 2008, CASES initiated a small workgroup of government agencies and nonprofit providers committed to developing policies and practices to improve outcomes for individuals with serious mental illness who had become involved in the New York County Criminal Court. Over the past eight years, this workgroup has grown to include more than 30 public and nonprofit agencies. Co-chaired by CASES and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York County Behavioral Health Diversion Forum has also expanded its focus to individuals with a range of behavioral health treatment needs and diversion from all stages of court involvement including in New York County Supreme Court. The Forum is also working closely with government officials and managed care providers to ensure justice-involved people with behavioral health needs have access to and coverage for the medical services they need in order to achieve and maintain recovery and wellness in the community.
Other System Engagement Activities
CASES staff regularly engage in government and provider initiatives to improve outcomes for justice-involved populations. Recent examples of these activities include:
- CASES’ CEO co-chairing the Arraignment and Post-Arraignment Working Group of the Diversion and Reentry Council initiated by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
- CASES’ Director of Youth Programs serving on the Steering Committee of the Young Women’s Initiative of New York City Council and as the chair of the Initiative’s Anti-Violence and Criminal Justice Working Group
- CASES’ Director of Adult Behavioral Health Programs serving on the Arraignment Working Group of the NYC Mayor’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System
In addition to direct engagement with system stakeholders, CASES also works closely with other providers as part of local and national initiatives. CASES currently chairs the NYC ATI/Reentry Coalition, a group of ten organizations dedicated to providing effective alternative-to-incarceration options along with services to ensure effective reentry in New York City. Other sample initiatives include CASES’ work with partners in Cure Violence initiatives to reduce gun violence in Central Harlem and Coney Island and as part of the nationwide Jobs for America’s Graduates Out of School provider network to support improved employment outcomes for young people who have become disconnected from school and work and face significant barriers to achieving short- and long-term career success.
CASES staff are committed to disseminating best practices and lessons learned through the development and implementation of our programs. CASES staff have appeared as part of technical assistance and other programs locally and nationally, including at recent events hosted by organizations including the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Council of State Governments Justice Center, National GAINS Center, New York State Health Foundation, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, and U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance.