Bell County to Host Planning Event for Diversion Center
Belton, TX – On Thursday and Friday, March 3 and 4, Bell County in conjunction with Baylor Scott & White, Advent Health, and Central Counties Services will host a special planning event for the county’s proposed Diversion Center. This facility is intended to serve individuals with mental health and addiction issues and keep them out of the Bell County Jail.
“Our goal is to identify individuals with mental illness, substance abuse issues, and intellectual and developmental disabilities, who otherwise would be taking up jail cells or hospital beds, and connect them with the care they need,” County Judge David Blackburn said.
“Central Counties Services is excited to join our community partners in prioritizing the mental health needs of individuals that interface with the criminal justice system,” Johnnie Wardell, Executive Director of Central Counties Services, said. “The proposed Diversion Center will allow us to provide the right supports and services at the right time, while reducing the burden the mentally ill can place on our law enforcement, judicial and hospital systems.”
This Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) Mapping workshop will begin Thursday at 8:30 in the Central Texas Council of Governments building (2180 North Main Street, Belton). After opening remarks by Blackburn, Jennie M. Simpson, State Forensic Director for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is scheduled to deliver the welcome and introductions. Simpson and her team will facilitate the workshop, which will be attended by more than 50 representatives from dozens of organizations around Bell County, including hospitals, behavioral health providers, police departments, and legal institutions.
“It has been inspiring to see just how many organizations have been not just willing but eager to partner with us to shape this program and make the Diversion Center a reality,” Judge Blackburn said.
The goal of the event is to develop a strategic action plan for the Diversion Center and its programing and to identify resources and opportunities to enhance mental health offerings in the county. Along the way, speakers will discuss data trends and best practices being utilized by similar facilities around the state. During Thursday’s meeting participants will also be assigned to workgroups for Friday’s session.