Trueblood Phase 3 recommends extending services to 5 new counties: Thurston, Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam

January 6, 2023
DSHS Office of Communications
Tyler Hemstreet
(564) 201–0027

OLYMPIA — After more than three years of progress in implementing Trueblood Contempt Settlement programs to expand forensic behavioral health services, Washington state and Disability Rights Washington announced their recommendation for extending programs to five additional counties in July 2023.

The state agencies tasked with implementing the orders — the Department of Social and Health Services, the Health Care Authority, and the Criminal Justice Training Commission — are now setting their collective sights on applying the best practices learned during Phase 1 and Phase 2 as Trueblood-required programs are recommended to be implemented in Thurston, Mason and the Salish Region (Kitsap, Jefferson, and Clallam counties) as part of Phase 3, which will begin July 1, 2023.

“The rollout of Phase 3 of the Trueblood Settlement Agreement highlights our efforts toward implementing new services for those who are involved in the criminal court system and need behavioral health treatment,” DSHS Secretary Jilma Meneses said. “Faced with new and unexpected challenges as we continue to work to transform the behavioral health system in Washington, I’m proud of how our department continues to strengthen relationships with our partners in the Settlement Agreement in order to serve those most in need. This next phase is critical as we continue to fund existing programs while reaching new counties and cities throughout the state.”

Phase 3 will also provide additional funding to existing programs implemented in Phase 1 (serving Pierce, Spokane, and Southwest regions) and Phase 2 (serving King County) to better improve and expand services in those regions. Programs that will receive additional funding include Forensic Housing and Recovery through Peer Services, Outpatient Competency Restoration Program, Forensic Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness, and the Forensic Navigator Program.

The Trueblood vs. DSHS lawsuit challenges unconstitutional delays in competency evaluations and restoration services. The state has been ordered to provide court-ordered competency evaluations within 14 days and competency restoration services within seven days.

“A major key to reducing the demand on competency services is to continue to intervene as early as possible within the intersection of law and behavioral health,” said Dr. Tom Kinlen, BHA director of the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services. “The investments and resources employed in Phase 1, 2 and hopefully in Phase 3 continue this work to help improve services for one of the most vulnerable populations in Washington.”

FHARPS and FPATH prove to continue to be successful in Phase 1 and Phase 2. FHARPS secured or stabilized housing for 651 people since it began offering services in March 2020, while FPATH has outreached 875 clients since its inception.

“I commend the continued partnerships and progress made over the last three years to transform the way our behavioral health system intersects with the criminal legal system,” said Keri Waterland, assistant director of HCA’s Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery. “Over the past three years, HCA and DSHS have continued to work together to encourage and support people through and out of the forensic mental health and legal systems into the best possible services in their chosen home communities. Our priority continues to be to collaborate, lead, and manage solutions that improve public behavioral health services for people of Washington State who are at the intersection of behavioral health and the law.”

The first phase of the Trueblood project included Pierce, Spokane, Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Ferry, Stevens, Lincoln, Adams, and Pend Oreille counties. Phase 2 included all of King County. Phase 3 will extend to the following counties: Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, and Thurston. Trueblood Settlement programs will extend to 16 counties in total by the end of Phase 3.

For more information on Phase 1, Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the Trueblood Settlement, visit the Trueblood page.