North Dakota Department of Human Services issues report on behavioral health

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ND departments of Human Services and Corrections and Rehabilitation set to launch Free Through Recovery


BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Behavioral Health Division and the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR) announced that training begins this week to launch Free Through Recovery, an innovative community-based program designed to increase access to recovery services for individuals engaged with the criminal justice system who have serious behavioral health concerns. The two agencies have been working collaboratively to establish the program enacted by North Dakota Senate Bill 2015. 

Care coordination training is being provided to community providers today through Friday, Jan. 26, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., at the Country Suites in Bismarck. Next week, peer support training will be offered in Bismarck to those with lived experience who will be providing peer recovery support to Free Through Recovery participants.

Services for Free Through Recovery participants will begin the first week of February. Participants include individuals at risk of incarceration.

First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum met with the new providers today in Bismarck stating, “There are many paths to recovery, and as care coordinators, you will have the rewarding, yet challenging opportunity to connect individuals to housing, employment, social supports, peers and clinical services. Thank you for being pioneers.”

By delivering high-quality community behavioral health services linked with effective community supervision, Free Through Recovery is intended to improve health outcomes and reduce recidivism. Community vendors participating in the program will provide care coordination and recovery support services including peer support to eligible participants within their own communities.

Lisa Peterson, Ph.D., DOCR clinical director said, “Free Through Recovery will help individuals involved with the criminal justice system access the services they need to be successful in their recovery.”

Agency officials said Free Through Recovery is an important step in the state’s efforts to stop criminalizing behavioral health conditions. 

“This new program is founded on a performance-based payment system. By linking reimbursement to outcomes, providers can offer alternative recovery services, depending on what works for each individual,” said Pamela Sagness, director of the DHS Behavioral Health Division.

When Free Through Recovery launches on Feb. 1, 2018, these 15 community vendors will be providing care coordination and recovery support services to participants: Community Options, Community Medical Services, Community Action Partnership, Centre Inc., Elliot Kabanuk, F5 Project, Face It Together, Fraser Ltd., Heartview Foundation, Lighthouse Church, Lutheran Social Services, Native American Development Center, Redemption Road, STAND, and Three Affiliated Tribes-Warriors of the 21st Century Re-entry Program.

For more information, including a video on Free Through Recovery, visit

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