The State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) has been awarded a three-year grant to expand the jail diversion services that are available in Anchorage to individuals with persistent and severe mental illness. Entitled the "Anchorage Community Care Alternatives Jail Diversion Project", this project is funded by the (federal) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is one of 14 national demonstration projects. To implement the project, DBH has contracted with Anchorage Community Mental Health Services (ACMHS) to provide the needed diversion assessments and subsequent clinical services. DBH, through ACMHS, has contracted with the Alaska Comprehensive and Specialized Evaluation Services (ACSES) of the Behavioral Health Research and Services (BHRS) program in the UAA College of Arts and Sciences to provide an independent third-party evaluation of the Jail Diversion Project.
Activities to be conducted by BHRS during Year One of the Jail Diversion Project include finalizing and implementing the evaluation plan in collaboration with DBH and ACMHS staff and other stakeholders; assisting in the selection, development, or refinement of assessment tools to be used in the evaluation aspect of the project; assisting with the development of informed consent documents, releases of information, and other procedures related to the protection of human research participants; providing technical assistance related to data entry and analysis issues; and initiating baseline data collection. During subsequent years of the Jail Diversion Project BHRS staff will continue to lend technical assistance to the Project staff, will continue to collect baseline interview data from project participants, and will conduct all six- and twelve-month follow-up interviews with project participants. If time allows, BHRS will also prepare process documentation (in the form of case study) about the implementation of the Anchorage Community Care Alternatives Jail Diversion Project. Throughout all three grant years, BHRS evaluation staff will meet regularly with ACMHS clinical staff and other stakeholders, provide regular progress reports, and contribute to quarterly and annual reports submitted to SAMHSA.