Start your own Yellow Line Project
1. Create a Leadership Team
The best way to successfully carry out the Yellow Line Project philosophies is through a collaboration between local law enforcement, and human service providers. Seek out leaders and direct service staff from your county's Human Services and Sheriff's Office or Local Police departments who can be key contributors to your leadership team. The following community members can also provide resources and additional insight to the leadership team:
- Treatment center providers
- Hospital personnel
- Mental health providers
- Transitional housing directors
- Advocacy group leaders
2. Generate a Community Assessment
To understand what resources your community needs to utilize, you must first analyze the needs of the community. How many community members are regularly repeat offenders? How many visiting your jail can benefit from mental and chemical health services?
To guide this conversation, the Continuum of Care document from the toolkit can be useful in identifying strengths and gaps or opportunities in your local service systems.
3. Audit your Resources
Yellow Line Project's goal is to enhance the current tools and resources in your community so that they are being utilized by community members in need. What resources in your community are being under-utilized? Is there transitional housing in your community that is constantly full and in need of expansion? Are there gaps or opportunities in the Continuum of Care? Consider these questions as you plan how the Yellow Line Project can make the biggest impact in your community.
4. Connect Human Services & Law Enforcement
Police officers are not social workers. Social workers are not police officers. Continual coordination between these two services is essential to the Yellow Line Project's success. Responsibility for dealing with the mentally ill often falls to the officers who patrol the streets. The Yellow Line Project creates a link between officers and human services to better address the needs of our community members. When human services and law enforcement departments work in unison it ensures community members get the right care.
For your project to have a successful start, law enforcement participation is essential from the beginning. In addition, a dedicated social worker is needed to offer options to the law enforcement professionals. We call this position: The Community Based Coordinator. It’s critical to have a respectful partnership, which will extend to how we interact with the community.
5. Adjust Mindset - level Foundation
The Yellow Line Project changes the viewpoint of how people view crime. It shifts a person in crisis from an offender, to a person in need of help. Continue to share these videos with members of your Human Service and Law Enforcement departments as well as leaders in your community to increase support and access to resources in your community. Then, take the next steps to outline a plan for the design phase.