This “Field Notes for Behavioral Health” guides reentry and community supervision corrections staff in preparing case plans for supported employment services for people leaving jail or prison.
One guideline presented and briefly discussed is the building of connections with local supported employment providers. Local providers can be identified by searching the local Department of Vocational or Rehabilitation Services database, the Veterans Health Administration, the state mental health agency, and the Social Security Administration’s “Ticket to Work” program. The second guideline is to encourage work with ongoing conversations about employment. The SOAR Employment Conversation Guide can help case workers begin those difficult but important conversations about identifying work goals and providing accurate information about supported employment and issues involved in returning to work. The third guideline is to educate clients on ways to access Social Security disability benefits and obtain employment. It is important for people with behavioral health needs to maximize their income through benefits acquisition and competitive employment. The “Ticket to Work” website provides information on local providers to which case managers can refer participants. The fourth guideline is to include employment goals and progress in regular check-ins. Proactive questions can assist in maintaining momentum in employment searches and measures to prevent job loss.