Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $802,692)
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) is seeking $802,692.00 through Category 3 to execute the Oklahoma Veterans Treatment Court Enhancement Project (VTCEP). A written needs assessment provided by the Center for Justice Innovation (CJI) outlined four overarching themes that the VTCEP will address: 1) Fidelity to Best Practices, 2) Program Entry into VTCs, 3) Statewide Coordination and Collaboration, and 4) Enhanced Support for VTC Participants. A strategic planning committee and CJI developed a statewide strategic plan establishing a five-year roadmap to address the gaps in each category. In addition to increasing the number of justice-involved veterans served, VTCEP will: 1) Implement early identification mechanisms and tools such as VRSS; 2) Decrease barriers to entry; 3) Develop targeted marketing and recruitment materials; 4) Create channels of communication and cross-court learning opportunities for all VTCs; 5) Increase culturally-responsive care and increased adherence to best practice standards; and 6) Provide funding for transportation and other identified needs to increase the recovery capital of VTC participants. Project activities include implementing objectives, statewide identification mechanisms such as VRSS, establishing stateside training and support for mentor programs, developing effective marking and recruitment tools for rural and urban jurisdictions targeted to missing subsets of potential VTC participants, creating ongoing channels of communication, support, and education across existing VTCs and jurisdictions implementing new VTCs or veteran tracks, enhancing support for VTC participants by providing transportation and housing vouchers and by helping programs formalize connections with veteran and community organizations, providing ongoing and consistent training and technical assistance to VTCs and treatment courts with veteran-specific tracks, and facilitate training for ODMHSAS staff and VTC team members at NADCP and State conferences. All eligible justice-involved veterans in Oklahoma are the intended beneficiaries of this project. The expected outcomes include the expansion of diversion opportunities for justice-involved veterans across the state, better statewide communication and coordination of services for justice-involved veterans across the state, better alignment of policies and processes of existing VTCs to best practices, increased training for all VTC programs and practitioners across the state, early identification of veterans and increased census of veterans served, increased resources to improve support for building recovery capital for veteran participants and developing effective marketing and recruitment materials for both justice-involved veterans and mentor programs to effectively reach these populations. ODMHSAS will utilize the existing infrastructure of state-level project management and personnel to successfully implement this project.