Stepping Up Initiative

Recognizing the critical role local and state officials play in supporting change, the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) are leading an unprecedented national initiative to help advance counties’ efforts to reduce the number of adults with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders in jails. To build on the foundation of innovative and evidence-based practices already being implemented across the country, and to bring these efforts to scale, NACo, the CSG Justice Center, and APF are working with partner organizations with expertise in the complex issues addressed by the initiative, including those representing sheriffs, jail administrators, judges, community corrections professionals and treatment providers, consumers, advocates, mental health and drug abuse service directors, and other stakeholders.

The initiative has three key components:

  1. A Call to Action
  2. Technical Assistance
  3. A National Summit
The initiative will align state and local efforts and include activities that state officials and other stakeholders can engage in to complement counties’ work. The summit is supported by APF, while other aspects of the initiative are supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

To learn more about the initiative, visit the Stepping Up Initiative homepage

Download Project Overview (PDF)

More Resources

Forsyth County, N.C. Launches First New Stepping Up Program

Roughly 100 female inmates in the county jail will be part of a pilot project to match them with services to treat mental illness and behavioral health problems to make sure they are rehabilitated while they are incarcerated.

Spartanburg Jail Welcomes County’s Help on Mental Health Issues

By “stepping up,” local leaders are making a countywide commitment said Richard Cho, director of behavioral health for the Council of State Governments Justice Center. They’re agreeing to make timely assessments; to obtain data that can be tracked monthly; and to communicate with the right community agencies to learn how released inmates can be connected to treatment, he said.

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