Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $549,998)
Van Buren County, Michigan is applying for $743,206 in JMHCP funds to support the expansion and enhancement of their Adult Recovery Court (ARC) program (mental health court). Three program-specific priority areas are addressed within the application – expanding the use of mental health courts, using a validated risk assessment tool (ORAS), and demonstrate active participation of co-applicants in program administration. Van Buren County is the lead applicant with Van Buren County Courts (justice agency) and Van Buren Community Mental Health (mental health agency) serving as partner applicants. The ARC’s target population are adults (18 years or older) with a diagnosed mental health or co-occurring disorder under the jurisdiction of the Van Buren County Circuit Court due to a misdemeanor or felony case. It is projected that 80 ARC participants will be served during the 24-month implementation phase (12-month planning phase).
Recent evaluation data revealed five aspects of the ARC that need to be enhanced in order to better meet the needs of participants. The specific activities to be undertaken include 1) increase availability of outpatient and residential treatment services; 2) expand program structure to include a 6-12 month aftercare phase; 3) provide recovery housing assistance to increase ARC participants housing stability; 4) increase participants engagement in recovery activities (and thus their recovery capital) through the hiring of a part-time peer recovery support specialist dedicated to the ARC and a part-time peer recovery support coordinator; 5) enhance ARC operations by providing ARC team members with training and professional development opportunities and engaging in an external process and outcome evaluation. The beneficiaries of this enhancement project will be ARC participants, ARC team members, Van Buren County justice system, and the local community.
According to 2020 US Census data, Van Buren County has a total population of 75,5871, is located in the southwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula and is a largely rural area with vast farmlands and small towns (service area). In terms of demographic characteristics, the majority (91.3%) of residents identify as White, 3.8% as Black/African American, and an even smaller percentage as other races. In terms of ethnicity, 12.3% identify as Hispanic/Latino. The median household income was $56,526, 14.1% of residents are living in poverty, and 6.1% were unemployed.
Van Buren County is a previous recipient of JMHCP grant funds (award # 2019-MO-BX-0043). The proposed subcontractors include Van Buren Community Mental Health, Dr. Kristen DeVall, and housing partners (TBD).