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Implementing LEAD Locally

Quick Guides

Built on a framework of ongoing, structured collaboration, LEAD recognizes that multiple entities that typically may not work together are essential to a shared effort to address complex problems that no single entity is responsible for causing or solving. With its focus on collective change, LEAD is not “owned” by any one partner or office-holder. A core principle of LEAD oversight and communications is that all partners share responsibility for both achievements and difficulties in LEAD.

As outlined under Roles and Responsibilities, LEAD requires collaboration among many stakeholders, and training and education in the model can help partners and their constituents understand how LEAD works. This Toolkit can be used as a core resource in selecting, onboarding, and assessing the site’s project manager; forming and running governing and operational groups; procuring, contracting with, and training service providers; establishing a legal framework for information-sharing and care coordination; and engaging the community. Finally, this toolkit can also be used in developing a site’s sustainability and evaluation plans, assessing its progress, and in expansion or replication.

Whether you’re exploring LEAD, are eager to begin a LEAD initiative, have encountered challenges in LEAD implementation, or are seeking guidance in expansion or evaluation, this toolkit offers resources to help your community build better safety, health, and equity with LEAD.

Request Technical Assistance 

The LEAD Support Bureau provides intensive and ongoing technical assistance and support through site-specific contracts; some technical assistance may also be available on a limited pro bono basis. To request assistance, contact the Bureau.


Is anyone eligible for LEAD?

Many people who come into occasional contact with the criminal legal, social service, or behavioral health systems – via a single arrest, a temporary economic hurdle, or a difficult psychological period – can successfully find their way through these challenges without suffering severe and lasting consequences. For them, the established system of response and care may prove to be sufficiently accessible and manageable.

These are not the people LEAD is intended to serve.

Instead, LEAD is expressly designed to provide a new system of care for people whose complex, ongoing, unmet behavioral health needs result in disruptive or unlawful behavior. They may lack reliable shelter, income, food, health care, and positive social networks, and may find existing systems inaccessible, impossibly complicated, or insufficiently responsive.