Here is just a sample of what we’re working on these days.

How to Help Vets Behind Bars

Barbed wired fence surrounding concrete groundsBuilding skills for criminal justice workers who provide services to justice-involved veterans

Veterans represent more than 7% of the U.S. population; and likewise, of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States, 7% are men and women who have served in the military. Data from the Veterans Health Administration data suggests that more than half of justice-involved veterans have either mental health diagnoses (PTSD, depression, high anxiety) or substance-use disorders. A large percentage are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Federal data shows that roughly 30% of incarcerated vets have experienced some form of homelessness – five times the national average. Our project involves building skills for those who work directly with incarcerated veterans to help them understand veterans’ involvement in the criminal justice system, as well as their needs as they prepare to re-enter the community.
Continue reading “How to Help Vets Behind Bars”

Our Work with WINTAC

Helping state agencies implement the Workforce Investment Act

The Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 was designed to improve access to supported employment services for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (IDD). WIOA is a big deal for state vocational rehabilitation and Medicaid agencies, and we’re proud to be a part of a national technical assistance effort to implement it. Smart Policy Works was tapped by the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) to serve as a subject matter expert on Medicaid and Medicaid-funded employment services and supports. Continue reading “Our Work with WINTAC”

The Roadmap Initiative

Illustration of Roadmap Initiative elements: journey mapping, systems mapping, and data linkingSystem strategies for “high utilizers”

Policy experts have long talked about stopping the cycle of homelessness, justice involvement, and emergency room visits. Recently, we seized the chance to do something about it. Working with TASC and Mercy Housing Lakefront, we convened an ambitious initiative to map the way that these systems mesh at the ground level. The project creates a strong framework for investment and policy and practice priorities across the health, housing, and justice sectors. Continue reading “The Roadmap Initiative”

LTSS and Older Adults

Elderly woman's hands folded in her lapDeveloping policy and data around home and community-based services

Long term services and supports (LTSS) help meet the needs of seniors by assisting with activities of daily living. They are crucial to helping older adults live independently in the community and avoid the need for a nursing home. But while there has been a pronounced move away from institutional care for the elderly, our knowledge about the scope of need for these services has not kept up. Smart Policy Works is engaged in several efforts to promote data-driven policies to guide the way our programs grow to reflect need as the population ages. Continue reading “LTSS and Older Adults”

Women Veterans Health Initiative

Image from ACCESS Auburn-Gresham’s new female veteran-friendly promotional materialsImproving outcomes for women who served

Women veterans and service members face a number of challenges that are unique to both their gender and their military service. They have more than double the suicide rate of civilian women and are more likely than men to face economic challenges, be homeless, and to be single parents and caregivers. And they are more likely to have experienced domestic abuse and military sexual assault than their male peers. Most female veterans don’t get care at the VA. Because community providers and health centers are a crucial resource for women veterans, we thought they would make great partners. Continue reading “Women Veterans Health Initiative”

Warrior Stories

Panels created in the Warrior Stories appTechnology plus graphic-novel style art therapy for PTSD

Many veterans struggle with traditional talk-therapy treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma can be remembered as flashes of images and emotions – experiences difficult to express with words alone. But the experience of sexual assault or harassment while serving is actually even more likely than combat trauma to cause PTSD. This project adapts an innovative post-traumatic stress disorder therapy application for use with military sexual trauma. We train therapists to use it with MST survivors. Continue reading “Warrior Stories”