The Community Re-Entry Program of the University of the Pacific was first established in 1978 as a University-based program designed to employ the use of a behavioral-system approach to teach independent living skills and self-reliance to the chronically mentally disabled of San Joaquin County as a function of the de-institutionalization movement of the late 70’s in California. The program employs a strategy designed around the psycho-educational model of service delivery utilizing applied behavior analysis methods of treatment and training. The mental health population of San Joaquin County that are referred to CRP for services are trained by graduate and undergraduate students that are obtained from the University’s Psychology Department. The Psychology Department provides the students with current behavioral course work and technology while the CRP program provides further behavioral analysis training and practice specific to each program component of services.
The important factor specific to the CRP program that defines it from other program services is that there is a service that teaches requisite skills along a continuum of service components that allow each person to learn all skills necessary to lead adaptive and healthy lives given their disability. Whereas many programs nationwide provide one or two specialized services, CRP provides a whole continuum of services that are both cost and programmatically effective. The services that are provided include Independent living skills, Supportive living through two Satellite Apartment complexes, socialization and recreational skills through the Martin Gipson Socialization Center, Peer support and advocacy through our consumer operated People Who Love and Care group, specialized forensic services through the program’s Conditional Release day program and finally, vocational rehabilitation services through our supportive employment component identified as Rise and Shine Industries.
One of the key elements of CRP is that it uniquely guides the chronic mentally disabled to independence and self-reliance without locking them up within institutional care sites or using punitive treatment to induce treatment adherence or compliance. Instead, the program provides clients with choices of what they want to achieve for themselves and choices between a variety of positive treatment and training activities designed to achieve those goals. Clients progress to independence because the program provides them with satisfying learning experiences, frequent opportunities for success, and recognition of their skills and accomplishments.
Initially, the program started teaching independent living skills to clients of the local county mental health system with a contract in the amount of $34, 000 annually. During the first year of operation, the funds were used to support one full time administrator and three part time graduate students. Over the years, the CRP program grew to it’s zenith of 8 program components with an annual contract in the amount of 1.8 million in fiscal resources. These funds supported 28 full time staff and administrators, 8 masters level graduate students, 5-8 undergraduate students, and 35 part-time and five full time consumer client employees. More recently and due to the budget shortfalls within the State of California during the current fiscal year 2004-05, the program was downsized to 6 program components with a total of just over $900,000 in annual funding. CRP administration has been informed by San Joaquin County Mental Health services administration that they in fact intend to support the rebuilding of the larger CRP program during the next fiscal year 05-06 given a new funding stream for the local mental health system as a whole.
During the current fiscal year 2004-05, the CRP program provides 6 component programs along a continuum of services that supports a mental health consumer’s program needs from intensive level services to supportive and maintenance level services. These program components serve approximately 200 discrete mental health consumers per month. A brief description of each service components will be provided below along with an attachment that describes historical component programs complete with service data reflective of both mental health clients served and students trained.
Community Re-Entry Program 2005
The first program component of our system of services is the Independent Living Skills program which involves two, community based 6 bed residential care facilities where clients are taught skills that are necessary for them to obtain and maintain their personal independence in their own apartments. The second program component is the two Satellite Apartments housing program sites where clients are provided with a safe and secure supported apartment living opportunity. One of the key elements of the Satellite Apartments housing program is that supportive service are provided by two full time consumer employees with additional support provided by student interns of the program. The third program component is the Martin Gipson Socialization Center. This program provides social, recreational and health related program opportunities on a voluntary basis and is named after the founder of CRP. We often refer to this site as a country club for clients of the mental health system without alcohol. Within this same site, peer support and client advocacy services are provided by the program’s People Who love and Care component. Also, the center serves as the designated site for the Conditional Release (Con Rep) forensic services component. The last of our program efforts involve the Rise and Shine Vocational Rehabilitation program. This component is also established within the Gipson Center and involves a work program where opportunities are provided to help clients develop work skills in preparation of long-term job placement within the community.
Three components of the overall CRP program have been carefully evaluated to determine how effective these services have been. The program components reviewed have been the Transitional Residential Facility, which had a total life span of 7.5 years, the Independent Living Skills program and Rise and Shine Vocational Rehabilitation.
First of all, within the first two years of the Transitional Residential Facility, we moved 107 out of a total of 114 clients from locked facilities back into unlocked community facilities for a success rate of 89%. Further, our continued tracking of these same 107 clients revealed that not only did they move back into the community, their rate of return to institutional care was very low. This positive outcome for the clients translates into a 68 % decrease in costs to local county mental health system.
Next, the Independent Living Skills program served a total of 188 clients during a recent six-year period. Prior to receipt of CRP services, it cost the mental health system a total of $3,191 per year for each client before their placement into our program. Six years after each client’s completion of the Independent Living Skills program, the yearly cost per client to local county mental health system fell to a trivial $15.00 per year.
These same types of results are evident with regard to the Rise and Shine Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The Rise and Shine clients’ ability to become financially self sufficient and less a public financial burden improved significantly after participation in Rise and Shine supportive employment services. Overall, there was a reduction of each client’s monthly SSI/SDI payments by $200 and was based on their earnings obtained from employment. This reduction of SSI/SDI and increase in funds obtained from work translates into each client’s improvement in their quality of life and feelings of self-esteem along with a positive financial benefit to the state SSI/SDI budget.
The Community Re-Entry Program not only offers positive treatment and training experiences for the chronic mentally disabled who voluntarily participate, but it produces highly positive results for these clients at very significant cost savings to the public. Our services are grounded in the philosophy that all individuals who experience a chronic mental disability can be contributors to the society and not a burden if they are educated and treated properly using applied behavior analysis technology and are allowed to become full partners in their rehabilitation. Finally and of equal importance is the notion that we offer a program and treatment that can be provided for all clients across the nation given a commitment to positive client advancement.
Further benefits are experienced by the programs impact on the student learning process. Many graduate students who choose the masters degree as a terminal degree are usually employed in mid management or supervisory positions upon completion of their internship with CRP and graduation. They are well equipped with quality behavioral assessment and intervention skills and can operate independently and with little supervision in any human service organization. Many choose to continue working with people who experience a major mental illness. The same can be said for undergraduate students of the program that work with CRP for one year or more during their education process.