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Canton Public Safety

Posted on: March 26, 2021

Police Department Receives Approval for an Embedded Social Worker Program

March 26, 2021, Canton, MI – The Canton Township Board of Trustees approved the police department for a service contract with Hegira Health for their Embedded Social Worker Program. Led by Township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak, the Canton Board of Trustees and Director of Police Services Chad Baugh have collaborated on service progressions to maintain a high police service level for the Canton community and address its service needs. The embedded social worker program is one of the multiple programs the police department has originated. The programs include the Police Community Engagement Team, the Juvenile Diversion Program, and the Canton Coalition for Inclusive Communities (CCIC).

The embedded social worker program is another step in providing better service to our community. Over the past few years, the police department has been monitoring the successes in portions of our country with similar embedded social worker programs. During the same timeframe, locally, the Canton Police Department has started a diversion program for Canton area youth with Growth Works' assistance. Similarly, Canton Police Department, in partnership with Growth Works, Saint Joseph's Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Northville Township, Westland, and Livonia, started a collaboration with a Growth Works’ driven program. The program is commonly called Wayne Rescue Recovery and has grown from the original partnership with St. Mary Mercy Livonia to the 18 participating Public Safety departments in Western Wayne County. The recovery program is voluntary and was started by the founding agencies in 2018. The program employs peer recovery coaches who assist clients through their journey to recovery.

The Canton Police Department handles mental health emergencies as a medical issue, focusing on a peaceful resolution to the situation through de-escalation. Canton police officers look at problems in a manner to help reduce danger for all parties. Further, Canton police officers look for opportunities to bring a holistic approach, including co-response initiatives with mental health professionals, social work professionals, family, friends, clergy, and support groups. In certain circumstances, there is a blend of many resources, including the criminal justice system and the police juvenile diversion program.  

The Board of Trustees and the police administration have collaborated to bring the highest level of service for the needs of the community. After mapping out this program with many partnerships internally and externally within Canton, the program to blend current programs with forward thinking modeling of embedding a social worker came to be. The Township offered a public proposal (bid), an internal panel was selected, and they reviewed the applicants on their proposals. The Hegira Health Embedded Social Worker proposal was selected.  

Hegira Health is a Trauma Informed Care agency. It implements several evidence-based practices throughout their facilities including, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (T-FCB) and Infant Mental Health for children and families and Prolonged Exposure Therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), and Trauma Recovery & Empowerment Model (TREM) groups for adults.

Hegira Health is a co-occurring (substance use and mental health) capable agency through MDHHS and DWIHN, integrates Peer services (Peer Recovery Coaches, Certified Peer Support Specialists, and Parent Support Partners) throughout their programs and has adopted the nationally-recognized Zero Suicide framework for suicide prevention. In addition, Hegira is funded through SAMHSA as a CCBHC (Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic), which means that they can serve all people regardless of insurance status for ongoing treatment and services.

For Canton Police Department, Hegira will ensure that the selected clinician is trained in Trauma-Informed Care, suicide prevention, and crisis response. The embedded clinician will follow-up with individuals and families with whom they have had contact to provide ongoing crisis stabilization to ensure they are linked with ongoing treatment and services in the community. One of the program's primary goals is to prevent future behavioral health crises, and engagement in ongoing treatment is a key component of prevention. For that reason, the embedded clinician's role is focused on crisis stabilization as opposed to long-term treatment. The clinician will work with the individual or family to access services at their treatment provider of choice. The process may include:

• Helping clients navigate the public mental health system

• Accessing information about their benefits

• Contacting a provider

• Assisting with transportation to the initial appointment

The social worker will be embedded within the police department and is expected to be operational by summer. The program will start as a pilot, and a review will be conducted after one year. Director Baugh and Hegira will report regularly to the Township Board of Trustees on the program’s efficacy.

Canton Township Supervisor Graham-Hudak stated: “The one-year pilot with Hegira Health, is one of the steps in building a stronger community and also a proactive move to reduce the non-criminal calls for service on our police and other first responders.  Police officers respond to many calls in our community including the recent increase in domestic violence, suicide and mental health issues, among others.  Approximately 15% of CPD calls for service are non-criminal related and social workers will be Canton’s second responders, assist where needed and also provide guidance to resources for our residents.”   


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