Mississippi is one of the eight states competitively selected to participate in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Collaborative, Improving Diversion Policies and Programs for Justice Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders.
Sandra Parks and Pam Smith of DMH wrote the proposal with collaboration from Judge Bill Skinner at Hinds County Youth Court, August Patton and Marva Clark from Hinds Behavioral Health Services, Ray Simms and Zach Pattie from the Department of Public Safety, and Annie Gray from MS Families As Allies.
These eight individuals traveled to Washington D.C. in June to develop a plan for:
- increasing communication among local agencies in Hinds County;
- maximizing existing funding streams and explore grant opportunities;
- improving the screening and assessment of youth at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center; and
- improving follow-through for those youth referred to other agencies/programs.
The first “home” team meeting was held June 13 and included participation from the Department of Human Services, Division of Medicaid, Henley Young Juvenile Justice Center, Hinds County Youth Court, Hinds Behavioral Health Services, MS Families As Allies, Department of Public Safety, DMH’s Division of Children & Youth Services, and DMH’s Bureau of Alcohol & Drug Services.