Community Engagement

In 2021, the Trust and Banner Wyoming Medical Center brought together a broad group of individuals representing law enforcement, first responders, the courts, jails, social service agencies, nonprofits, and housing providers.  Using the expertise of Policy Research, Inc. (PRI), we mapped the intersections of our community’s behavioral health and criminal justice systems to identify resources and gaps for vulnerable populations in Natrona County.

By eliminating many of the burdens of traditional funding, we efficiently provide support to partners who are working to improve the many factors that impact the health of our community.

Strategies

After the initial mapping was completed, the Council began monthly meetings to identify areas of prevention and coordination, as well as opportunities to reduce barriers.  Smaller task forces were created to keep the work moving between the monthly meetings. This structure has resulted in the following outcomes:

01

INCREASED COLLABORATION

NCSJ works to coordinate resources for individuals to improve the overall health and safety of our community. It consists of over 50 agencies and 6 subcommittees with participants from social service agencies, municipal court, education programs, law enforcement, first responders, the detention center, treatment providers, criminal justice agencies, and individuals with lived experience.

02

COMMUNITY CASE MANAGEMENT

The Trust funds a community case management position as a resource for NCSJ. Housed at Community Action Partnership of Natrona County (CAPNC), the case manager works directly with individuals in the targeted vulnerable populations to connect them with needed resources and services.

To connect with the community case manager, please contact CAPNC at (307) 232-0124.

03

ENHANCED DATA

NCSJ received a grant from the Department of Justice to identify the costs associated with justice-involved individuals who suffer from substance abuse and/or mental health disorders in our county.

Data outcomes will include an analysis of the costs associated with the top ten percent of utilizers in our county, to compare the costs of the status quo against potential new interventions.

Data will be shared with local and state agencies to help inform policy decisions based on specific community needs.

04

CREATION OF SERVICES

NCSJ has created new services for its target populations.

  • A navigation center for the unhoused called “Kind Grounds”.
  • An outreach hub to connect services with target populations in a central location.
  • A treatment/life skills reentry program called RISE in the detention center that offers treatment, instruction, and direct services to improve outcomes upon release.
  • Thrive Together Initiative (TTI), a lived-experience peer group that provides tools and support for justice-involved individuals as they are released.

05

IMPROVED COURT RESOURCES

Diverting individuals incarcerated due to mental health or substance abuse disorders while providing necessary services is an important component of NCSJ’s work. Using a “Rocket Docket” approach, Central Wyoming Counseling Center works with a court navigator to identify and assist individuals in crisis and provide services likely not obtained through costly incarceration.

06

INVOLVING LIVED EXPERIENCE

In every aspect of NCSJ’s work, the voices of lived experience are welcomed and appreciated. This year, the Trust will also host a participatory grantmaking opportunity to ask those with lived experience to identify areas of need and make funding decisions related to NCSJ work. Approximately $250,000 will be granted into Natrona County as a result.

Affiliated Programs

Kind Grounds

Located at the Christ United Methodist Church, Kind Grounds provides a safe and compassionate space for those who are unhoused. It connects them with treatment, healthcare, case management, and education opportunities.

RISE

RISE is a 30-day treatment/life skills reentry program in the detention center that offers in-person treatment, instruction, transformation classes, support, and direct services from the community. The program develops case plans and connects inmates with housing opportunities upon release.

Downtown Outreach

The outreach program occurs twice a month at a downtown location. A meal is provided for the target populations and multiple agencies work at the hub to connect services with individuals who attend.

Thrive Together Initiative (TTI)

TTI is a lived-experience peer group that provides tools and support for justice-involved individuals. TTI offers support groups and transformational classes to inmates in the program. Plans are underway to expand the program to those in the community who are formerly incarcerated.

What’s next?

  • Developing and using a “Situation Table” case management structure to provide coordinated rapid response to those in crisis while collecting and sharing information and data in a way that maintains HIPPA compliance.
  • An ongoing challenge in our community is the lack of low-barrier housing. Without safe and stable housing, long-term success for our target populations is difficult to reach. A task force within NCSJ was created to identify options to address this challenge. The task force is working to connect housing support with case management and treatment, working methodically with individuals to teach them to live on their own and maintain a safe environment for themselves and others.
  • We are also working to capture more data, evaluate our new services, share what we’re learning, and identify funding sources to sustain NCSJ’s efforts.

To learn more about NCSJ, please contact the Trust’s Director of Community Engagement Kristy Oster.

Community Partners