CONNECTICUT MODEL 
Traditionally the Connecticut vocational rehabilitation agency (Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, or BRS) and state mental health agency (Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, or DMHAS) provided employment services via distinct and separate tracks. Recently, however, both have recognized the importance of working collaboratively to strengthen employment outcomes for shared consumers. BRS designated persons with psychiatric disorders as a target population and made the improvement of employment outcomes a key agency goal. Concurrently, DMHAS is actively promoting linkages with local BRS offices to broaden the array of employment services and partner on such programs as the Ticket to Work and federal employment stimulus funds. BRS placed three counselors in DMHAS facilities, where they work closely with treatment teams and the internal DMHAS-funded IPS employment staff. The results have been very positive for consumers, as well as the staff of both agencies. BRS staff have been able to obtain tools, drivers licenses, on-the-job training placements and trial work opportunities to help consumers get a foot in the door. Typically for teamed consumers DMHAS IPS staff make the initial job placements using IPS practices. DMHAS wraparound supports (e.g., clinical and case management services, housing assistance and supports) insure longer-term job retention. At the point that the individual is interested in more significant work, BRS counselors can assist in exploring and obtaining higher level positions and/or skills upgrading. Longterm supports are generally provided by the local DMHAS agency. DMHAS continues to encourage its providers to become BRS Community Rehab Providers (CRPs) to promote continuity for consumers who are accessing employment services from both agencies. This partnership is particularly important for leveraging employment stimulus funds to serve DMHAS consumers. While all involved acknowledge that these embedded counselors may achieve fewer “26s” than their counterparts working with persons with a broader range of disabilities, they also understand that recruiting more consumers into the BRS/DMHAS employment pipeline will generate movement toward significant permanent employment over time. Staff from both agencies have noted the difference in attitudes and level of knowledge regarding the partner agency’s services. All feel more comfortable in making cross referrals and actively seek out opportunities for teaming. CT is taking full advantage of the Ticket to Work Partnership Plus model to generate revenue for shared consumers. For cases in which both BRS and DMHAS have contributed significant services, the Ticket revenues are shared based on contractual agreements between BRS and the provide agencies. There is an on-going supports committee, made up primarily of DMHAS providers, that is co-facilitated by BRS and DMHAS to encourage DMHAS agencies to become Employment Networks. While the CT partnership is a “work in progress”, we’re pleased that these efforts are underway. We look forward to learning from our teamed model and ultimately expanding our best practices to additional sites. Submitted by Ruth Howell, December 3, 2009