Launch of the Familiar Faces Initative

The National Association of Counties (NACo) relaunched Data-Driven Justice as the Familiar Faces Initiative: Improving Outcomes through Coordinated Health & Justice Systems.

The Familiar Faces Initiative will support and empower communities to share data between health and justice systems and coordinate care options for individuals with complex health and behavioral health conditions who frequently cycle through jails, homeless shelters, emergency departments and other crisis services. Data-sharing allows communities to identify people who need help, connect them with the right services and address underlying issues to break the cycle of incarceration and crisis.

At the event, NACo announced:

  • Familiar Faces Initiative website to serve as a central location for resources, events and announcements
  • Community Message Board for questions and discussions with peers and experts around data-sharing efforts and programs for familiar faces
  • An Advisory Board of influential organizations and associations that will guide the initiative and coordinate messaging around familiar faces
  • Applications to the Familiar Faces Initiative Leadership Network, which will support local leaders in championing these efforts in their jurisdictions. Applications are due June 3rd, and
  • Stay tuned! Peer learning sites to model effective cross sector data-sharing and familiar faces programming.

Access the event recording and materials here. 

To learn more, please reach out to Nina Ward at

Somewhere to Go During a Behavioral Health Emergency: Crisis Triage Centers and Behavioral Health Clinics

Counties are partnering with health care providers to establish crisis triage centers that offer in-person treatment and services to people experiencing a behavioral health emergency. These centers may offer short-term treatment, group and individual therapy, medical assessment, peer respite, medication administration and rehabilitation services, among other ongoing support options. In many counties, crisis triage centers are federally-funded Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) that provide integrated and evidence-based services to residents. This webinar will provide an overview of crisis triage centers, offer examples from counties across the country and discuss the role of several key stakeholders. Participants will also have time to engage in discussion groups led by elected officials, behavioral health practitioners and criminal legal system stakeholders.



911 Dispatch: Innovations for Addressing Behavioral Health Crisis Calls

Counties and cities across the country are developing innovative approaches within 911 dispatch centers to respond to behavioral health crisis calls to reduce unnecessary jail and emergency department admissions and associated costs, improve public safety and engage vulnerable residents in effective treatment and recovery services. This webinar will feature a presentation on The Pew Charitable Trust’s recent research on 911 call centers’ capabilities to handle behavioral health crises and highlight localities that have developed innovations in 911 dispatch centers.



Non-Law Enforcement Responses to People Experiencing a Mental Health Crisis


Counties and cities across the country are looking for innovative ways to respond to 911 calls for service involving people experiencing a mental health crisis. Local leaders are exploring potential non-law enforcement responses through mobile crisis teams or other types of partnerships. This webinar will feature localities that have created such programs, their lessons learned and resulting best practices.


Coordinating a System Response to 911 Dispatch


Improving crisis response with strategies that divert those with behavioral health needs to appropriate care has become a primary area of focus for both county and city law enforcement. Innovative dispatch strategies include co-responder models with mental health clinicians, mobile crisis teams, Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for law enforcement officers or a combination of all three. Join NACo, in collaboration with our Stepping Up partners and Data Driven Justice network for a discussion on 911 dispatch intervention strategies with a special emphasis on data collection, screening and practical local approaches to resolving 911 calls safely without unnecessary justice system involvement.


Virtual Panel Discussion: Lessons Learned from Pilot Projects


Join Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) for an engaging virtual panel discussion on the outcomes of the two-year DDJ pilot program with three communities: Johnson County, Iowa; Long Beach, Calif. and Middlesex County, Mass. In 2018, Arnold Ventures selected these three communities to receive support for pilot projects to link data from local police, jail, hospital and other service providers to help identify “frequent utilizers.” Pilot counties leveraged cross-systems partnerships across justice, health and service providers to integrate data to guide frequent utilizers to the support they need, to avoid either hospitalization or incarceration.

During this discussion, Arnold Ventures will lead a conversation with the pilot sites to discuss progress and challenges with their projects and highlight lessons learned for DDJ communities doing this important work. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in Q&A with the pilot site leaders during follow-up DDJ Peer Engagement Group calls in October.

National Listening Session: COVID-19 Impacts and Innovations Across Justice and Behavioral Health Systems


Counties and cities are on the frontlines for protecting public safety, administering justice and supporting and maintaining the health and well-being of residents. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, jurisdictions are implementing changes to policies and practices within justice and behavioral health to continue to provide these vital services to meet community needs.

Please join Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) on Friday, May 22 at 2 p.m. EDT for a discussion on national and federal justice and behavioral health resources as communities continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. DDJ members will hear from national leaders about available federal resources, but we also want to hear from DDJ communities about the impact of COVID-19 on their efforts to serve frequent utilizers of their health, human services and justice systems. Please come prepared to share innovations and continuing challenges in your communities.


  • Chris Asplen, Executive Director, National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)
  • Ayla Colella, Director, Practice Improvement, National Council on Behavioral Health

Community Discussion Questions:

  • How is your community promoting social distancing within your justice systems? How has it impacted your DDJ work?
  • How has behavioral health service delivery changed as a result of social distancing or a shift to telehealth? What has the impact been on your work with people with mental illness?
  • How are communities making sure that individuals with mental illness being released from jail are getting access to needed services or has creating warm handoffs been a challenge?
  • What is your community’s approach to reopening its justice and behavioral health systems? What policies or procedures within justice and behavioral health is your community considering maintaining after social distancing measures have lifted?

Using Data to Identify and Serve People who Frequently Utilize Health, Human Services and Justice Systems

Using and Sharing Data Across Health, Human Services and Justice Systems to Improve Responses for People Who Have Mental Illnesses Oct. 10, 2019 , 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm


Counties across the country are building collaborative partnerships to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in their jails. Despite the progress that counties have made, they still face challenges with sharing information across multiple systems, limiting their success in identifying people involved in these systems, coordinating services and supervision and tracking the impact of their efforts.

Stepping Up and the Data-Driven Justice project are co-hosting a two-part webinar series to offer tips on managing data and information sharing for people who frequently utilize multiple systems such as emergency rooms, shelters and jails. This first webinar will focus on the collection, management and sharing of data and will address primary challenges counties often face in these efforts. Participants will hear from subject matter experts and counties that have implemented processes to collect, share, integrate and analyze data on people involved in multiple county systems.

NACo is grateful to Arnold Ventures and NACo’s Smart Justice sponsor Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, Inc. for their support of this webinar.


Dr. Barbara Bunkle

Sharing Health Data Across Systems to Coordinate Care and Deliver Services

In each county, there is a small population of residents with complex health and social needs that are difficult to meet without coordinating services and supports across systems and providers. Integrating health information with information from other systems is one way to improve how residents receive the treatment and services needed to improve their health and well-being but accessing, using and sharing health data is often viewed as a significant barrier to advancing streamlined solutions that deliver effective interventions and improve the outcomes of the targeted population. During the 2018 NACo Health and Justice Forum in Shelby County, Tenn., we hosted the workshop, “Sharing Health Data Across Systems to Coordinate Care and Deliver Services,” to address how counties can overcome misconceptions about health information sharing and strategies for success. Attendees learned from a national expert on navigating health privacy laws and heard from counties that share health data across systems to improve outcomes.

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