Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $749,496)
The purpose of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda VTC enhancement project is to expand the court’s capacity to serve a total of 200 high-risk/high-need justice-involved veterans including those currently blocked from other collaborative courts by CA penal codes imposing criminal history disqualifications, increase the proportion of veterans of color by maintaining a census in which the distribution by gender and race/ethnicity is consistent with the disproportionately high rates of felony arrests for drug offenses among African Americans, to train the VTC team to provide equitable treatment addressing their prolonged exposure to micro-aggression in and outside of the military, and to fully incorporate the 10 NADCP best practice standards.
Early identification and prompt placement of eligible participants in VTC will be achieved by adopting the Veterans Reentry Search Service tool. Medicaid benefit advocacy services are provided at intake for VA-ineligible veterans and rapid assessment (RANT and ASAM criteria) and referral to appropriate county treatment and recovery interventions are comparable to, or better than the timeline for VA-eligible participants. All veterans will be assessed for the need for family support services and linked to VA or community-based veterans service organizations to strengthen or restore family relationships.
A veterans mentor program will be developed, and peer recovery support and pro-social activities will be provided by community-based veterans service organizations. All participants will have access to at least six months of rent-free sober living housing.
An experienced Ph.D. level external evaluator will routinely monitor differences in the length of the referral process, referral outcomes, appearance vs. failure to appear at court following assessment, phase advancement, substance use disorder treatment outcomes, assessment for, and referral to complementary services, and program outcomes (discharge category and recidivism defined as convictions following the date of admission to the VTC) by race/ethnicity, gender, and the presence or absence of a co-occurring disorder. Any disparities will be reported immediately to the VTC Team, the presiding judge and the Collaborative Court Judicial Committee.
Expected outcomes include maintaining the VTC’s record of zero recidivism among graduates, significant improvements in veterans’ housing quality and security, participants’ abstinence from drugs and alcohol, improvements in mental health including a documented reduction in emergency psychiatric services and hospitalizations due to early assessment and referral to treatment, and a record of ongoing data-driven quality improvement in the VTC.