The American Psychiatric Foundation, National Association of Counties, and Council of State Governments Justice Center joined forces in 2015 to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails and prisons. Organizers aim to turn the Stepping up Initiative into a “long-term national movement, not a moment in time.”
They are on the way to fulfilling that promise. More than 300 counties, including 7 in Wisconsin, have joined the initiative. The Stepping Up website is filled with positive stories in publications from Scientific American and the New York Times to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal and the Bangor Daily News.
Dane County was one of 50 applicants selected to attend a two-day summit in Washington DC last April. Speakers from county boards, government agencies and programs throughout the country provided step-by-step guidance about how to build a coalition, collect data, develop a plan, and sell it to the community. Federal and foundation representatives told of funding opportunities. The sessions are available on the website.
Stepping Up has announced monthly webinars and technical assistance network calls in the coming year. First up is a webinar on February 2, “Six Questions County Leaders Need to Ask.” Click here for more information about technical assistance.