Awaiting pilot results, Travis County commissioners approve agreement to continue mental health jail diversion program

Travis County commissioners approved an interlocal agreement with Integral Care to continue a mental health jail diversion program at an Aug. 13 meeting.

Travis County commissioners approved an interlocal agreement with Integral Care to continue a mental health jail diversion program at an Aug. 13 meeting.

Travis County commissioners voted unanimously to approve an interlocal agreement with Integral Care to continue a mental health jail diversion program, despite not having data on the program’s success as a pilot.

Commissioners Jeff Travillion, who represents Precinct 1, and Margaret Gomez, who represents Precinct 4, were absent.

“I want to be clear, I’m supportive of these kinds of programs, but we also have to have a clear indication and a clear understanding ourselves about what we would consider successful,” said Commissioner Brigid Shea, who represents Precinct 2, at the Aug. 13 meeting.

The program, which began as a pilot in 2016, works to divert individuals with mental illness out of jail and to connect them to services while their criminal cases are pending.

The county’s pretrial services division recommended approval of the agreement, which will solidify its working relationship with Integral Care, the local mental health authority, as the program is formalized.

County staff attributed the lack of data to privacy concerns and said Integral Care keeps client records and cannot share them without data-sharing terms codified in an interlocal agreement.

The agreement does not include any funding commitments. However, the county's preliminary budget for fiscal year 2019-20 includes $128,105 to continue the program beyond the pilot stage. The Commissioners Court is scheduled to approve the budget Sept. 24.

Although commissioners approved the agreement, they requested that staff return with the results of the pilot next week.

“When we move something from a pilot to an [interlocal agreement], we should have the results of the pilot,” County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said.
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


MOST RECENT

The Texas Department of Transportation project on I-35 is now scheduled to be finished this winter. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Estimated completion of I-35 project near William Cannon Drive pushed back until winter

The project was initially expected to be finished this summer.

Dr. Molly Lopez is the director of the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health and also serves as a research associate professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. (Designed by Stephanie Torres/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Mental health expert talks emotional well-being, building resiliency for the 2020-21 school year

According to Dr. Molly Lopez, director of the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health, the upcoming school year will serve as an opportunity for students, families, teachers and school administrators to learn skills in coping, re-evaulate mental health protocols and build resiliency in challenging times.

Jules Design Bar
TABC change opens window for some bars to qualify as restaurants under state pandemic orders

Following a new industry guideline recently distributed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, more bars across the state may soon be able to qualify as restaurants.

Here are the coronavirus updates to know today in Hays County. (Community Impact staff)
Dripping Springs woman is Hays County's 38th COVID-19 death

Hays County reported 2,673 active cases of the coronavirus and 126 hospitalizations related to the virus Aug. 13.

(Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Half of Leander ISD families opt for virtual learning and more top news from the Austin area

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Austin area.

Bikers ride up Shoal Creek Boulevard in February. A bond proposal from Austin would fund additional bike lanes, sidewalk reconstruction, capital improvements and more. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin will send $460 million transportation bond to voters in November

The bond would fund include capital improvements to a number of projects, including the Longhorn Dam Bridge over Lady Bird Lake. The cost to the median Austin taxpayer would be about $77-$80 per year.

The future location on South Congress Avenue would be the third located in the South Austin area. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
P. Terry's plans for S. Congress drive-thru and more Austin-area news

Read the latest Austin-area business and community news.

Tesla announced its decision to bring its next gigafactory to Travis County on July 22. (Jay Jones/Community Impact Newspaper)
Tesla posts first gigafactory jobs as construction gets underway in Travis County

The company has 49 active listings for Austin-area jobs related to the gigafactory and other operations.

A police officer rides past protesters during the June 7 Justice for Them All March. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Police transformation begins in Austin as City Council approves millions in budget cuts, reinvestments, commitments

The move comes in response to a national and local reckoning over police brutality and the future of public safety.

Capital Metro's plan to build rail lines and expand its public transportation network, Project Connect, will head to voters in the city of Austin on Nov. 3. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Project Connect officially in the hands of Austin voters Nov. 3

Austin City Council took its final vote Aug. 13 on a plan to ask voters for approximately $3.85 billion in local revenue to expand the city's public transportation network.

Austin Regional Clinic location
Austin Regional Clinic now recruiting for coronavirus vaccine trial

Local health care provider Austin Regional Clinic will recruit 250 patients from the Austin area to participate in a late-phase clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine.

The future location on South Congress Avenue would be the third located in the South Austin area. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
P. Terry's submits plans for new S. Congress drive-thru

The future location would be the third located in the South Austin area.