PDA seeks organizations to provide case management and outreach to clients eligible for LEAD, a harm-reduction based program for people in the criminal justice system with behavioral health conditions living in extreme poverty. We work in coordination with courts and law enforcement.
The Seattle Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion/Let Everyone Advance with Dignity (LEAD) initiative is soliciting requests from interested parties to serve as a service provider for the case management and outreach component of the project in the Seattle area.
The LEAD model recognizes that substance use, mental health issues, and poverty are drivers of law violations and brings a public health approach combined with significant resources to bear on those issues as an alternative to using the traditional criminal legal system. First piloted in Seattle in 2011, LEAD has now been replicated in many jurisdictions statewide and nationally, with widely varying socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. LEAD is committed to using principles of trauma-informed harm reduction as the most effective entry point to foster recovery and stabilization for many who have been marginalized by mainstream systems of care and greeted primarily by enforcement and punishment instead.
LEAD builds a bridge to care that reaches those chronically exposed to enforcement, uses harm reduction to improve the well-being of program participants and to decrease the harm experienced by others (family, neighbors, strangers) due to their situation or behaviors. The service provider for this project will work along with current and future service providers as the point of contact for eligible individuals, will provide outreach, case management and housing navigation, and will assume responsibility for either providing or procuring services for program participants. Services needed will include, but not necessarily be limited to: substance use disorder services, mental health services, housing, public benefits, referral for legal assistance in the resolution of outstanding legal issues, vocational training, income supports, and job placement.
LEAD is a framework for pre-booking, pre-arrest, or community-based diversion to long-term intensive case management of individuals who are otherwise subject to criminal legal system response, related to behavior connected to drug use, drug activity, mental illness or income instability.
With the support of the Seattle City Council, the Mayor’s Office, and other public officials, a coalition of law enforcement agencies, public safety advocates, civil rights groups, prosecutors, and community stakeholders in Seattle and King County came together over a decade ago to launch LEAD as the nation’s first pre-booking diversion framework for individuals who commit law violations related to behavioral health issues or extreme poverty, who are provided long term community-based care & case coordination in lieu of jail booking and referral for prosecution in many cases.
LEAD is governed under an interjurisdictional memorandum of understanding by a Policy Coordinating Group (PCG), to which the project management team reports. Project management is presently provided by Purpose Dignity Action (PDA). The PCG sets policy and approves all operational protocols for LEAD work. The PCG includes members from the Seattle City Council, Seattle’s Mayor’s Office, Seattle Police Department, Seattle City Attorney’s Office, King County Council, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, King County Sheriff’s Office, King County Executive’s Office, ACLU, and PDA.
Funding for LEAD is currently provided in part by the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD), King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency fund (MIDD fund), the Washington State Recovery Navigator Program, the Trueblood v DSHS Contempt Settlement Agreement, and federal Congressionally directed spending.
Key components of the intervention model are: harm reduction, field-based outreach and counseling, individual intervention plans, intensive case management when appropriate, well-funded comprehensive services (purchased on the private market where necessary to avoid waiting lists) including housing, treatment, education, job development, and legal assistance, within a harm reduction framework, and legal system coordination for individuals who have non-diverted cases pending in the court system or awaiting filing by prosecutors.
LEAD emphasizes race equity and cultural justice through its service provision and community outreach. LEAD advances race equity by continual examinations of patterns of enforcement, referral, approval, and ability to access services. LEAD’s existing service providers prioritize hiring individuals with lived experience of the criminal justice system, foster care system, homelessness, and behavioral health issues.
City of Seattle LEAD stakeholders include:
- The Seattle City Council
- The Mayor’s Office
- The Seattle Police Department
- The Seattle City Attorney’s Office
- The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
- The King County Sheriff’s Office
- The King County Executive
- The King County Council
- The King County Department of Public Defense
- Purpose Dignity Action (PDA)
- Local business leaders
- Local civic organizations
Applicants should familiarize themselves with the core principles and ideas underlying the LEAD Project, which can be found in the LEAD Support Bureau Toolkit. Applicants should familiarize themselves with the existing diversion protocols for LEAD in Seattle, which are spelled out in Appendix A. These resources outline the essential basis for LEAD practice. The diversion protocols, in particular, define the target population for this project and will not be subject to agency modification. Applicants should reference both the core principles and diversion protocols wherever possible or appropriate in their responses to questions.
Please be as concrete and honest as possible in your responses to questions. Answers will be used not only to assess applicant suitability for this project but also to assess possible technical assistance needs. The LEAD model is a proven concept; however, we recognize and are anticipating that agencies implementing the services may need some technical assistance due to the intensive case management approach and unusual partnerships involved. This is not a barrier to an applicant being selected to act as the lead service provider. LEAD project management staff at PDA will be available to provide or obtain such assistance as needed.
As noted, LEAD is pre-booking or community-initiated diversion to community-based care for individuals who commit law violations related to behavioral health issues due to substance use disorder, other behavioral health conditions, and/or extreme poverty, with client eligibility criteria established by key stakeholders. LEAD is intentionally designed to operate differently from many other diversion frameworks. We seek those who have been chronically involved in the legal system, emphasize the importance of directing resources to those with the highest barriers, and scrutinize the composition of the population included in diversion services compared to those who are not enrolled and enter the “system as usual” to ensure LEAD practices are reducing, not compounding, disparity.
LEAD participants are referred into the program through three different channels. Once enrolled, the approach to care and coordination is the same for all.
Following established guidelines, at or before the point of arrest for qualifying offenses, officers and/or deputies will offer diversion to individuals in lieu of jail booking (“pre-booking diversion”) or proactively when they are not making an arrest (“social contact referrals”). Individuals accepting diversion will be transferred to case managers in a “warm handoff” in the case of arrest diversions and when the candidate can be encountered in the field in the case of social contact referrals. Case managers will then conduct an intake assessment. Working with clients, case managers will identify the range of services needed. This planning is to be participant-centered and driven. If a participant does not want particular services (such as substance use treatment), they will not be required to accept them; the only requirement is to develop an individual intervention plan that centers on participants’ own goals. Case managers must be familiar with harm reduction philosophy and practice and should be conversant with techniques such as motivational interviewing. The applicant organization must be able to provide 24/7 on-call on-site response, though this generally can be handled through an on-call staff roster rather than maintaining a staff member constantly on duty.
Once the range of services needed are identified and prioritized, case managers will work on procuring services. LEAD places no pre-established expectation for what constitutes program completion. Case managers are able to terminate participants from services when, in their judgment, no clinical benefit is being derived, but the goal is to maintain participants in services until they are stabilized and prepared to transition out. LEAD case management is open-ended, with an eye to strengthening self-sufficiently whenever possible, and with the goal of reducing problematic or unlawful behavior – using human services means.
LEAD case managers are expected to use the financial resources available through the project to work intensively and at length with participants. Some participants will need relatively little engagement and services; the vast majority, however, will need extensive support pursuing a wide range of services. Service providers must be willing and able to work with high-needs participants for prolonged periods of time in the field as well as in an office setting. The selected agency and/or agencies will need staffing and technological capacity to meet reporting requirements, required monthly client-level reports to HSD, monthly participation in the LEAD Policy Coordinating Group, and weekly participation in operational work groups or equivalent. The King County Behavioral Health & Recovery Division (BHRD) is able to provide technical assistance with reporting requirements to support selected case management providers in submitting required individual-level data. Contractors must maintain a staffing ratio averaging one case manager FTE to 20 active clients, with a maximum of 25. The minimum necessary staffing would be two case managers, an outreach coordinator, and a partial clinical supervisor. We expect at least 100 referrals annually, with at least 50 individuals completing intake and receiving services. Depending on the selected provider’s capacity, the caseload may be significantly larger, with added staff to maintain needed staffing ratios. Funding will be sufficient to support competitive salaries in the nonprofit sector for comparable positions.
In preparing your application, please use 1-inch margins and a 12-point font. We are not setting any page lengths, but please be as concise and specific as possible in your responses.
Proposals are due no later than 11/09/2023 5:30 PM PDT.
Proposals should be submitted electronically in Word format.
Proposals should be sent to Fe LopezGaetke, Deputy Director, at [email protected] with “Seattle LEAD RFP” in the subject line.
Specific questions regarding the content of the RFP or the selection process should be directed to Fe LopezGaetke, [email protected].
Proposals will be evaluated by a review panel selected by the Seattle LEAD Policy Coordinating Group. We will notify applicants about their status no later than December 29, 2023. Contract negotiations will commence with final contracts finalized no later than January 15, 2024. Work will commence on February 1, 2024. Payments will be made on a reimbursement basis.
Please prepare a cover sheet for your application. The cover sheet should identify the name of your agency, agency contact information for follow-up questions, and the neighborhood(s) for which you are applying.
Section 1: Background:
Please provide an overview of your agency, its mission, history, and philosophy. Please include conceptual approaches to service provision, existing services provided by the agency, and the size of the agency.
Section 2: Principles
- Harm reduction is one of the core principles of the LEAD model, and service providers working within the LEAD framework must be prepared to employ a harm reduction approach.
- Please describe your agency’s understanding of harm reduction.
- Do you practice harm reduction in any of your current programs? If so, please describe concretely how you practice it and for what populations.
- Does your agency have an articulated commitment to harm reduction? If so, how is it expressed? If not, why? Are you prepared to articulate one as far as this project is concerned?
- Collaboration between case managers and law enforcement officers is a key component of LEAD. Would that present challenges for you, and if so, how would you address them? Do you have past experience working with law enforcement, and if so, please briefly describe them?
- One of the core principles of LEAD is the provision of culturally competent services.
- Describe previous experience with providing services to diverse populations and describe the organization’s capability for providing culturally competent services to the specific racial, ethnic, and cultural consumer groups who will be served by LEAD.
- Describe the size, mix, training, experience, and demographics of the proposed staff and describe how staff will reflect the ethnicity and languages of the target population.
- LEAD is committed to enhancing the stability and well-being of its participants. What is your experience with and commitment to an outcome-driven system of care? Have you participated in any programs where you were evaluated based on the outcomes of your client?
Section 3: Experience
- This project will entail intensive and possibly long-term case management of individuals who are engaged in street-level illegal activities, many of whom will struggle with substance use disorder and/or present with mental health issues.
- Please describe your agency’s experience working with people who use drugs, people who work in the illicit economy, and people who are chronically involved in or exposed to the criminal legal system.
- Please describe your agency’s experience working with people who use crack, meth and opioids in particular.
- Are you a licensed behavioral health provider? If not, please describe your experience procuring behavioral health services for people with substance use disorder and people with mental illness.
- Please describe your agency’s experience working with individuals with profound mental health conditions, including acute psychosis and personality disorders. If your agency lacks experience working with this population, describe how you would approach developing the clinical skills and systems knowledge required to adequately support individuals with high-acuity mental illness.
- Please describe your experience in working with people who have experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Are you familiar with programs working with such people, and can you establish linkages with them?
- Please describe your competency and approach to working with individuals who engage in sex work.
- This project will entail implementing an established intervention and following established protocols with fidelity.
- Please describe any prior experience your agency has in implementing evidence-based models with fidelity.
- Please describe your experience navigating housing resources and systems, including but not limited to the Coordinated Entry system for allocation of homeless housing in King County.
- Please describe your familiarity with Seattle neighborhoods and/or communities, street-level public order and public safety issues, Seattle and/or King County care providers, and public agencies and officials that might bear on your effectiveness in undertaking this work.
- LEAD arrest diversion response, and occasional response to support existing clients in crisis, must be available on call 24/7/365. Please describe your capacity to provide services at flexible hours, including nighttime and weekend shifts.
- Please describe your agency’s:
- ability and/or experience with using individual service plans (aka treatment plans, care plans) and clinical note taking/documentation (aka “progress notes”)
- ability and/or experience with compiling and submitting client-level data on a recurring basis and in a secure, encrypted fashion
- experience complying with HIPAA and 42 CFR regulations
- past experience with rigorous evaluation
- special emphasis on focus populations or problems
- primary geographic area(s) of interest within the City of Seattle, if the contract to be awarded is designed to focus geographically (this has not been pre-determined and will depend on the strengths and competencies of the selected organization(s))
- need, if any, for technical support in order to be able to effectively perform any aspect of the work being procured
- Please describe your organization’s
- internal control mechanisms & system of expense approval
- experience with and ability to perform cost reimbursement projects
- ability to track and accurately document expenses as necessary to a project
- funder site visit findings or independent auditor findings (if any) requiring corrective action over the last three years and steps you took to correct the issues identified.
Section 4: Budget
Please submit a budget between $500,000 and $2,000,000, matching the scope of services you feel prepared to provide in 2024 for 50-300 clients. There is no particular preference for smaller or larger proposals so long as they are somewhere in that range; the emphasis is on an applicant organization matching the scope of intended services to your ability to recruit, hire, train, retain, and supervise staff to perform the necessary functions.
Please identify positions to be filled, proposed rate of pay, benefits cost, direct non-personnel costs (itemized by category), indirect cost (at least 10%), and client direct expense costs of $1000 per year per participant, unless you have a specific reason to estimate a larger amount (if so, please explain).
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion/Let Everyone Advance with Dignity (LEAD)
REFERRAL AND DIVERSION PROTOCOL
Mission & Purpose
Elected officials, law enforcement officers, residents, business owners, and service providers in Seattle and King County want to improve public safety and public order in their neighborhoods and want to reduce future criminal behavior by individuals engaged in law violations due to behavioral health conditions, continued drug use and/or extreme poverty. A non-randomized control trial has shown that participants in the LEAD program, which provides case management and coordination of other legal issues/processes, are more successful at reducing recidivism than processing these individuals through the criminal justice system as usual.
Process for Diverting Individuals to LEAD in Lieu of Jail & Prosecution
In order to divert an individual to LEAD, the primary decision maker initially will be LEAD-trained law enforcement officers on the street and their sergeants, pursuant to clear criteria on which officers have been trained by command staff. LEAD-trained officers and sergeants will make a series of decisions about the individuals they contact to determine whether or not those individuals are appropriate to go to jail or to the community-based program. The determinations include:
- Is this person disqualified from community-based diversion due to particular criminal history, exploitation of others, or drug dealing for profit (not subsistence income)? (Exclusion criteria are detailed below.)
- Is the offense the person is alleged to have committed an eligible offense for LEAD referral (low-level VUCSA, as defined below, prostitution, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor property destruction, criminal trespass, unlawful bus conduct, or obstructing an officer)?
- For victim crimes: is diversion to community-based resources in lieu of jail consistent with victim needs and interests? Is immediate jail booking necessary for victim safety and security?
- For all eligible offenses, is diversion to community-based resources in lieu of jail consistent with the safety and security of the community? Or is immediate jail booking necessary? The interests of the community as a whole will be taken into consideration.
- Does the person have any medical conditions at the time of arrest that require immediate medical treatment, detoxification, or referral to a hospital?
- Is the person unable to provide informed consent, and/or does the person pose an immediate risk to self or others due to mental illness?
- Does the person have an existing no-contact order, temporary restraining order, or anti-harassment order prohibiting contact with a current LEAD participant?
- Does the person display any interest in being offered services through a community-based diversion program rather than being taken to and booked into jail?
LEAD Cover Sheet. A LEAD Cover Sheet will be prepared by all officers/deputies and sergeants making a LEAD arrest diversion.
SPD cover sheets will be referred to both SPD Records and the Narcotics Unit, and copies retained by the arresting officers’ precinct commanders. KCSO will direct referring deputies on the destination for KCSO LEAD cover sheets.
- Arrest diversion process
In the context of the LEAD community-based diversion approach, diversion means that a person who could have been booked into jail and referred for prosecution will instead be engaged by LEAD program staff (an outreach and case management team) working for a social services provider. The LEAD team will provide an immediate individual assessment to determine what factors led the individual to engage in LEAD diversion-eligible criminal behavior and offer immediate crisis-related assistance as needed. Then, over time and in a harm reduction framework, case managers provide comprehensive services to address those factors and reduce the harm the individual is causing to themselves and the community. The referred individual is considered to be in LEAD if
- he or she completes an intake session within 30 days of referral, unless there is agreement between operational workgroup partners to extend that time; and
- he or she signs a release of information allowing the sharing of information on an as-needed basis among the LEAD operational partners no later than the completion of the intake process.
Victim consultation. If the charge being considered for LEAD arrest diversion involves (an) identifiable victim(s), the referring law enforcement officer(s) will, whenever possible, engage with the victim(s) about the possibility of LEAD referral. Prior engagement with store owners and managers at larger enterprises may substitute for case-by-case consultation when there is clear direction from potential victim stores or enterprises that they support trying a LEAD approach with certain categories of offenses. Officers/deputies will provide a prepared information sheet that has been vetted by the LEAD Policy Coordinating Group to the victim(s) and explain that LEAD referral is being considered in the hope of making more progress in changing the arrested individual’s behavior than traditional justice system processing. The information sheet will provide contact information for the pertinent prosecutor(s) and ask the victim(s) to contact the prosecutor within one week if they have objections to proceeding with a LEAD diversion. If such objections are raised, it is the prosecutor’s discretion whether to file charges, taking into consideration other filing criteria. If the prosecutor does file charges, the defendant will be considered for social contact referral to LEAD based on the initial law enforcement referral.
Meanwhile, the LEAD-trained officer or sergeant who made the referral to LEAD will complete the records that would be needed to refer the case to the King County Prosecutor or Seattle City Attorney and forward the arrest packet for review to the arresting officer’s supervisor. The narrative in the incident report will clearly state that the person has been referred to LEAD. If the LEAD-trained arresting officer determines that the suspect does not meet the threshold criteria for LEAD referral and therefore books the suspect into jail and refers the case to the Prosecutor or City Attorney, she may nonetheless refer the case to the supervising sergeant for review by the LEAD team with a request to override the exclusion for a specific reason.
Arrest diversion will be available 24/7. Receiving facilities for meeting, interviewing, and working with a diverted individual will be arranged to provide for the physical safety and security of LEAD outreach workers and case managers and may include police precincts, the Sobering Center, the Crisis Diversion Facility/Crisis Solutions Center, case management team offices, LEAD workspace, or other arrangements approved by the LEAD Project Management Team member.
After a LEAD-eligible client is arrested, and prior to booking, the LEAD-trained arresting officer or sergeant will call the LEAD service provider at 206-455-0386, and the individual will then be turned over to the case management team for initial screening at a mutually agreeable location approved by the LEAD Project Manager.
The LEAD-trained arresting officer will determine, based on the eligibility criteria below, including their own assessment of the individual’s amenability to the intervention model, whether an individual under arrest will be referred to LEAD. A prior referral does not preclude a second referral but is a factor the officer can consider with respect to the individual’s amenability to the intervention model.
At least monthly, the LEAD team (LEAD case managers, precinct officers, sergeants and commanders, the Department of Corrections NCI team, the King County Prosecutor’s Office, the City Attorney’s Office, community advisory representatives and the LEAD project managers at The Public Defender Association) will hold staffing sessions in which the situation of particular participants will be reviewed. Whenever possible, operational partners will send the LEAD project managers at the PDA names of individuals they wish to discuss, with a brief statement of why, in advance of the workgroup meeting. To permit such discussions, LEAD participants who accept diversion will be required to sign releases of information authorizing program staff to discuss their cases and progress with the other institutional partners at LEAD staffing sessions or, if more clinically appropriate in the judgment of the case management agency, to verbally authorize such release of information in a manner that satisfies the agency as to their legal obligations and is memorialized by agency staff. These consent authorizations are a condition of participating in LEAD, and if not completed or if rescinded, the individual is not a LEAD participant.
Though they will be informed by the LEAD team staffing discussions, the King County Prosecutor’s Office and Seattle City Attorney retain ultimate and exclusive authority to make filing decisions in all cases and to recommend dispositions and support or oppose release motions as they deem appropriate. Individual cases may be staffed more frequently via phone conference, email, or text as needed.
The King County Prosecutor and the Seattle City Attorney will receive copies of the investigation packets on diverted cases in their respective jurisdictions for review for compliance with the agreed diversion criteria and for comparison with those cases in which suspects were jailed and referred for prosecution.
Individuals who are offered arrest diversion to LEAD will be provided an information sheet by referring officers/deputies/sergeants or by responding outreach coordinators/case managers explaining that LEAD diversion means (1) not being booked into jail at the point of arrest unless the individual returns to the scene of the arrest within 12 hours of release, and (2) likelihood that charges will not be filed if they sign the LEAD Release of Information and complete the intake session with LEAD case managers within 30 days.
The information sheet will make clear that, for victim crimes, victim input could affect whether the prosecutor files charges, but the arrest referral still means the referred person may be eligible for ongoing LEAD services and coordination by social contact referral, which could include positive consideration even if charges are filed after victim input.
- Eligibility Criteria for Diversion to LEAD
Adults suspected of VUCSA, drug traffic loitering, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor property destruction, criminal trespass, obstructing an officer, unlawful bus conduct, and prostitution offenses will be eligible for diversion to LEAD and should be referred to LEAD, except when:
- The amount of drugs involved exceeds 7 grams (except that where an individual has been arrested for delivery of or possession with intent to deliver marijuana, or possession, delivery or possession with intent to deliver prescription-controlled substances (pills), officers will consider the other criteria listed here without reference to the amount limitation);
- The individual does not appear amenable to diversion;
- The suspected drug activity involves delivery or possession with intent to deliver (PWI), and there is reason to believe the suspect is dealing for profit above a subsistence income;
- The individual appears to exploit minors or others in a drug dealing enterprise;
- The individual is suspected of promoting prostitution;
- The individual has an existing no-contact order, temporary restraining order, or anti-harassment order prohibiting contact with a current LEAD participant;
- The referring officer or sergeant believes that diversion is inconsistent with immediate victim or community safety; or
- The individual has disqualifying criminal history as follows:
- Without time limitation: Any conviction for Murder 1 or 2, Arson 1, Robbery 1, Assault 1, Kidnapping, VUFA 1, or any sex offense (or attempt of any crime listed here).
- Unless more than 10 years have elapsed since conviction on any of the following: Robbery 2, Assault 2 or 3, Burglary 1.
- Unless more than 5 years have elapsed since conviction on any of the following: Assault 4 – DV, Violation of a Domestic Violence No Contact Order, Violation of a Domestic Violence Protection Order, Burglary 2, or VUFA 2.
- The individual has disqualifying criminal history as follows:
Individuals who are arrested on a DOC warrant and/or for a DOC violation may be referred to LEAD. The arresting officer (if not a DOC Officer Specialist) should contact NCI Team personnel. The NCI Team DOC Officer Specialist may determine in accordance with DOC policies that the individual should be referred to LEAD.
Individuals for whom the LEAD program could reduce the harm of their activity to themselves and to the community but who are not diverted on the current charge under this protocol (e.g., due to specific criminal history) may still be referred to LEAD services by LEAD-trained law enforcement or a designated LEAD Project Management Team member as social contact referrals (see below). It is possible that their involvement and progress in the LEAD program might be considered by the prosecutor or the court in subsequent charging, plea offers, or sentencing decisions.
An individual who does not meet the threshold eligibility criteria (above) but whom the LEAD-trained arresting officer believes would be a good candidate for LEAD diversion may be accepted (post-booking) for diversion by the LEAD team on the recommendation of the arresting officer. There is no substantive right to be offered LEAD diversion. LEAD eligibility is not intended to be a substantive right to be litigated.
Warrants will be served according to applicable policies and protocols, and individuals will be booked if they would otherwise be booked on a warrant, regardless of LEAD. However, the existence of a warrant on another charge does not preclude arrest diversion of a qualifying new charge.
Notwithstanding the above, if a suspect who would otherwise qualify for LEAD has an outstanding DOC warrant, the LEAD-trained arresting officer should contact NCI Team personnel. DOC/NCI may determine that the individual should be referred to LEAD according to DOC policies. Otherwise, the individual shall be booked into jail according to regularly applicable protocols and policies.
- Referral of “social contacts” and “community referrals” to LEAD
To the extent that the program has capacity to take them after responding to pre-booking diversion cases of individuals who could have been jailed and prosecuted, LEAD will also accept referrals from law enforcement of “social contacts,” that is, individuals whom there is a strong basis to believe chronically commit law violations due to behavioral health conditions or extreme poverty. Law Enforcement referrals will continue to have priority for enrollment in LEAD; however, LEAD will also accept community referrals of such individuals from sources and agencies such as the Seattle Fire Department, the Mobile Crisis Team, the Crisis Diversion Facility, DOC Officer Specialists, the King County Prosecutor, the Seattle City Attorney, the King County Jail, the Department of Public Defense, Business Improvement Associations, other neighborhood groups, business groups, housing and health care providers, without the requirement of police approval. Community referrals will be approved by designated members of the LEAD project management team at PDA, depending on program capacity and partner priorities, after confirming the referral is appropriate, consistent with racial equity considerations pertaining to LEAD’s public funding sources, and after confirming that the case management team is able to respond to the individual’s situation.
All social contact referrals to LEAD must meet the following prerequisites:
- Verification by law enforcement or LEAD Project Management Team that the individual is engaged in law violations in a LEAD catchment area due to behavioral health issues, involvement in drug activity, or extreme poverty.
- Verification means:
- Police reports, arrests, jail bookings, criminal charges, or convictions indicating that the individual was engaged in such law violations; or
- Law enforcement, the case management team, or the LEAD Project Management Team have directly observed the individual’s law violation behavior; or
- Law enforcement or the LEAD Project Management Team has a reliable basis of information to believe that the individual is engaged in such law violations, such as credible information provided by another first responder or community members.
- The individual’s law violations due to behavioral health issues, involvement with drug activity, or extreme poverty must occur or have occurred within the LEAD catchment area.
- The individual’s law violations due to behavioral health issues, involvement with drug activity, or extreme poverty must have occurred within 24 months of the date of referral.
- The case management team does not have a safety-related reason for believing that they cannot serve the person referred without jeopardizing the well-being or safety of an existing participant or the organization’s staff.
- Verification means:
The Department of Corrections NCI Team Community Corrections Specialists may also refer individuals on community supervision for whom LEAD services are likely to provide assistance in preventing future law violations.
- Intervention Protocol
Initial contact and referral by officers. Each participating law enforcement agency (SPD, KCSO/Metro, DOC/NCI)will devise its own procedure for review of social contact referrals by individual officers, deputies, and sergeants. The LEAD project management team will devise protocols for review and approval of community referrals, and these protocols will be shared with operational partners initially and if revised. The LEAD Project Management team (Public Defender Association) will be made aware of all candidates for social contact referral; no social contact referral will be resolved without PDA knowing of the referral and resolution.
Following the decision to refer an individual to LEAD on an arrest diversion, the referring officer, deputy, or sergeant will contact the LEAD program staff. The LEAD staff will come to the precinct or other agreed location, or officers may transport the referred person to the REACH office(s). LEAD staff will be available to respond 24/7 to arrest diversions or in other time-sensitive circumstances in a manner approved by the LEAD Project Manager (Public Defender Association).
When the outreach worker/case manager arrives, the referring officer, deputy, or sergeant will provide her with basic information about the individual, including known criminal conviction history. The referring officer will document in his report that the outreach worker/case manager was called, arrived, and provided with this information, and the referring officer will then release the suspect from custody. The officer will then leave the outreach worker/case manager to engage the individual.
If a suspect is intoxicated or incapacitated and, for those reasons or reasons of mental illness, unable to engage effectively in the release of information consent process at the time of referral, consent should not be obtained at that time. LEAD case management/outreach staff should continue to check in with the individual, advise them about the release of information arrangement, and determine whether they can provide informed consent. The consent may be written or verbal, with written memorialization by the case management agency. Consent may be obtained as late as the completion of the intake process. The intake process may be extended by the referring officer/sergeant/agency to facilitate obtaining the necessary consent (or other reasons accepted by the officer/law enforcement agency, as discussed elsewhere). LEAD participation, including prosecutor criminal justice system coordination, is contingent on the completion of both the intake interview and the consent to release information.
Arrest Cover Sheets. LEAD trained SPD officers, DOC Officer Specialists and KCSO deputies/Metro officers who are making diversions to LEAD should complete and attach the “LEAD Program Eligibility” arrest cover sheet to the arrest report for every case diverted to LEAD.
Social Contacts and community referrals. An officer making a social contact referral, approved by his or her agency’s review process for such referrals, should contact the individual he/she seeks to refer, unless another contact plan appears more effective to officers, neighborhood contacts or REACH staff. The LEAD Project Management Team, facilitating an approved community referral, will work with the person or entity making the referral, and the case management team, to initiate an engagement plan.
If the individual contacted is willing to be referred to LEAD on a social contact basis, the officer can contact Case Management staff by calling 206-455-0386. During regular business hours, an in-field contact will be attempted if staffing allows; outside regular business hours, an immediate response will be attempted if officer or LEAD Project Management Team and Case Manager Provider/any other contracted after-hours LEAD responder agree that special circumstances warrant that. If the officer or LEAD Project Management Team contacts the LEAD program coordinator after hours, he or she can expect a return call the next business day, barring exceptionally urgent circumstances warranting a more immediate response.
Intake assessment. When an individual who was under arrest is diverted to LEAD, LEAD case management agency staff will immediately conduct an initial screening to gather basic information about the person, identify any acute immediate needs, and assess the person’s appropriateness for diversion. Based on the initial screening, the case manager will first work to meet any immediate needs that must be addressed, such as shelter for the night. She will also thoroughly explain the diversion process and the assistance that might be available through the LEAD program for a willing participant.
During the initial screening, LEAD staff should instruct the participants that they cannot return to the area where they were arrested for their LEAD-referred offense for the next 24 hours. If participants were initially arrested during a buy-bust, and shortly thereafter, return to the scene of a buy-bust, they may possibly be arrested for compromising the safety of the undercover officers who are working the buy-bust.
If an individual does not remain to complete the initial screening that immediately follows diversion, LEAD program staff will contact the supervising sergeant, and either the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office or City Attorney’s Office by phone or email. Law enforcement may decide to re-arrest the individual or to refer the case to the prosecutor without arrest.
At the end of the initial screening, LEAD staff will schedule a follow-up appointment to perform an in-depth intake assessment, which should occur optimally between 24-48 hours after the initial screening, or as soon as otherwise possible, but not longer than 30 days from the referral date in the case of arrest referrals, unless the 30-day limit is extended by the referring officer/deputy or his or her sergeant/agency. Social contact approvals are good for six months from the approval date. Referrals are valid and may be acted on for up to 12 months for anyone meeting Trueblood criteria; however, if significant time elapses between approved referral and engagement, the case management team is encouraged to check in with prosecutors to ensure that circumstances have not
changed significantly since the approved referral such that LEAD is no longer a good match for the circumstances. The referral may be re-assessed to ensure this is still a priority use of scarce LEAD resources until the point at which the person has engaged with the case management team for care.
When completing the in-depth intake, the first task of LEAD staff is to determine the immediate cause of the individual’s continued law violations. In addition, the caseworker will survey a wide range of factors that might contribute to ongoing encounters with law enforcement. Such factors include, but are not limited to: chemical dependency (alcohol and other drugs), mental health issues, lack of housing, prior legal involvement and/or gang involvement, lack of previous employment, and lack of education. LEAD funding and staffing may be used to address any factor or set of factors driving the participant to engage in problematic activity at the street level.
If an individual completes the initial screening but refuses or fails, within 30 days from referral, unless an exception is authorized by the referring officer/squad, to complete the follow-up intake assessment, the LEAD case management provider shall notify the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and/or the Seattle City Attorney, depending on which office has jurisdiction over the case, within a week of the missed deadline. The appropriate office may then decide to file a criminal charge in and prosecute the offense that was initially diverted to LEAD.
Individual Intervention Plan (IIP). Once any acute needs have been addressed, the case manager will work with each participant in one or more meetings to design an Individual Intervention Plan, which will form both the action plan for the individual and a key element of program evaluation. As noted above, the plan may include assistance with housing, treatment, education, job training, job placement, licensing assistance, small business counseling, child care, or other services. The outreach worker/case manager will follow up with the individual to implement the intervention plan.
Although many elements of the intervention plan will be client-identified and driven, and though participation is voluntary, the IIP will draw on the professional expertise of the case manager. If the case manager identifies needs for treatment or other services, she will either provide referrals to appropriate programs with available capacity (see discussion below of non-displacement principle) or procure needed services using project funding. In cases where chemical dependency or mental health services are needed, project participants will be asked to sign a release of information forms allowing the case manager to consult with other professionals and with LEAD partners.
Withdrawal of specific services. Receipt of specific ongoing services is conditioned on the participant making good use of the resources provided and good progress toward reducing harm to the community and himself. Good use of services will be based on LEAD case managers’ judgment. The possibility that services might be withdrawn should not be invoked lightly but does act as a powerful motivator for participants to take the opportunity seriously and make good use of LEAD resources. Withdrawal of specific services is distinct from termination of a participant from LEAD.
Regular staffing sessions with partners. At least monthly, the LEAD Project Management Team will conduct a staffing meeting that includes the key operational partners in LEAD, such as community advisory representatives, the Seattle Police Department, the King
County Prosecutor’s Office, the City Attorney’s Office, the King County Sheriff’s Metro police, the Department of Corrections NCI Team, and the Public Defender Association.
LEAD partners will use the staffing meetings to share information about program participants’ situation and progress with respect to their IIP and will engage issues
including, but not limited to: referral criteria, program capacity, operational efficiency, and effectiveness. The workgroup will also focus the attention of the LEAD program on particular areas about which community representatives have voiced concerns.
Community report back. The LEAD team will periodically reach out to neighborhood residents, businesses, and community leaders to provide informational updates about LEAD operations and to receive feedback on areas of focus. This community engagement work will generally be coordinated by the LEAD Project Manager (PDA).
Goal of self-sufficiency; no time limit. IIPs will be designed to maximize the odds of a participant being able to achieve self-sufficiency independent of program funding at some point in the relatively near term. For some, this may entail a plan for vocational or higher education or achieving a GED; for some, it may involve job placement; for those who are not likely to be able to support themselves through work, it may entail applications for SSI and/or GAU.
Since the objective is actually securing changes in individual behavior, there will be no a priori limit on the time period in which an individual can receive services. The test, rather, is simply whether, in the judgment of LEAD staff, the participant is continuing to make good use of the resources LEAD is dedicating to him,
Core principles of the intervention approach include but are not limited to:
- A harm reduction philosophy. Participants will be engaged where they are; they will not be penalized or denied services if they do not achieve abstinence. The goal is to reduce as much as possible the harm done to themselves and to the surrounding community through problematic drug activity. Again, some or all services may be withdrawn from participants whom LEAD staff feel are not making progress toward reducing the harm caused by their behavior.
- Community transparency and accountability. It is essential that community stakeholders and public safety leaders be able to participate in regular staffing meetings, have access to program performance reports, and have excellent access to program staff to suggest areas where outreach could usefully be concentrated. Community confidence that pre-booking diversion is a reasonable way to accomplish the goal of improving public safety is essential to the viability of the program.