Case Study: Lucas County, Ohio

In September 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) hosted the Data-Driven Justice and Behavioral Health Design Institute (Design Institute) in Rockville, Md. The Design Institute convened 13 teams committed to the Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) Initiative. Teams were selected through a competitive process to work directly with expert faculty in facilitated sessions and workshops to develop actions plans for developing and using integrated data systems that would aid jurisdictions in identifying high utilizers of jails and crisis services. This case study is part of a series highlighting counties that participated in the Design Institute.

By attending the Design Institute, Lucas County identified two priorities that will help leaders build a system of diversion and advance their efforts on DDJ, a national initiative involving over 140 county, city and state governments working to reduce the frequent and repeat cycling of high utilizers—also called frequent utilizers—with mental illnesses, substance abuse disorders and chronic health conditions through jails, emergency rooms, homeless shelters and other crisis services. The county’s top priority is to engage stakeholders and develop the networks and partnerships that are foundational for bringing together the justice and behavioral health systems. The second priority the county identified is to do a “deep dive” into its systems and develop an understanding of how high utilizers interact with and use the various service and resource systems.